A bill to discourage Nigerian-trained medical or dental practitioners from migrating without first practising in Nigeria has passed its second reading in the House of Representatives.
Ganiyu Johnson (APC-Lagos) sponsored a bill that restricts Nigerian-trained medical practitioners from obtaining full licences to depart the country until they have completed at least five years of service.
This was contained in a tweet posted via the official handle of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill is part of the measures by the Nigerian government to halt the increasing number of medical doctors leaving Nigeria for other countries in search of ‘greener pastures’.
The title of the amendment bill, which was sponsored by Mr Johnson, reads, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practise in Nigeria for a Minimum of Five (5) before being granted a full licence by the Council in order to make Quality Health Services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”
The plenary of the House was presided over by the Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila.
In his remarks, Mr Johnson told the House that it was only fair for medical practitioners, who enjoyed taxpayer subsidies on their training, to “give back to the society” by working for a minimum number of years in Nigeria before exporting their skills abroad.
Another member, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, (Abia-PDP) who opposed the bill, said that the bill was more like enslavement to tie a doctor down for five years in Nigeria, post-graduation, before seeking employment in a foreign country.
However, a majority voice vote passed the bill for second reading in which many of them called for flexibility and options in the envisaged law.