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Maximizing Benefits Of Nigerian Migrant Workers

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Maximizing Benefits Of Nigerian Migrant Worker

By Tersoo Zamber

There are millions of migrant workers around the world.

The engagement of a good number of these migrant workers is facilitated by recruiters known as Private Employment Agencies, PEAs.

In Nigeria, there are about 250 of such licensed agencies that are under the regulation of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and coordination of their umbrella body, the Human Capital Providers Association of Nigeria, HuCaPAN.

According to HuCaPAN, PEAs contribute 4.5 million of employment globally, with over two trillion naira inflow from the engagement.

This is far more than the Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand personnel captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS of the federal government.

Again, a recent World Bank Migration and Development brief indicates that a record 20.1 billion dollars was sent to Nigeria in remittances by migrant workers.

This represents 38 percent of the 54 billion dollars received in Sub-Sahara as remmittances. When converted to local currency, Nigeria’s 20.1 billion naira will amount to over 15.3 trillion naira, based on current exchange rates.

This is just about 6 trillion naira less than the current national budget, and 11 trillion naira deficit of the proposed 26 trillion naira budget for next year.

It says remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa grew to 54 billion dollars, a 6.1 increase from the preceding year.

According to the report, regional growth in remittance was largely due to strong remittance increase in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Interestingly, the growth in remittance is projected to rise by 1.3 percent, and Nigeria’s share will also swell.

Nigeria features very prominently in this international socio-economic endeavour as a country of origin, transit and destination for migrant workers.

It must be noted that, Nigeria has attained such heights in labour migration owing to many factors including its over 200 million diverse population which must be seen as her strength.

Added to this is the series of capacity building of stakeholders by the International Labour Organisation in collaboration with the Federal Government.

These capacity building programmes over the years have promoted better migration governance to benefit all, that is the individual, family, countries of origin, transit and destination.

It has been revealed that many Nigerians embark on regular migration in search of greener pastures, with just a few taking the dangerous paths and risking their lives.

Indeed, the dynamics in labour migration have been changing in recent times to the benefit of all involved.

Before now, migrants from the West African region were coming to Nigeria more, but recent statistics by ILO show that migrant workers are coming to Nigeria more from Asia.

Therefore, it is not only Nigerians that are moving out in search of greener pastures but those from the perceived greener pastures are also trooping into Nigeria, perceived by some not to be a good place.

This explains the two-way traffic in labour migration globally. Again, the ever changing dynamics in migration has shown that Nigerians have changed their destinations from the Americas to the middle east in recent times.

A study by the Centre for Migration Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka shows that 70 percent of students are prospective migrants.

This is because many of the students are from poor families and after engaging in unsustainable odd jobs to acquire education, they hope to make it in life only when they migrate out of the country.

In their desperation to move out, locally known as “japa”, they fall victims of unlicensed recruiters.

This is when trafficking and smuggling comes in with attendant consequences and abuses.

In view of the huge inherent benefits in regular labour migration, it has become imperative for the federal government and all stakeholders to sanitize the sector for more benefits.

This can be done by reviewing outdated policies on migration governance. Interestingly, Nigeria is a signatory to many conventions on Migration.

There is also the need to step up awareness on the benefits of save, regular labour migration by the media.

Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Salihu Tejumola

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