The House of Representatives had their minds blown this Tuesday as CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso unleashed a financial truth bomb. Turns out, Nigerians have been ballin’ a bit too hard… on education and healthcare abroad, that is!
Cardoso, ever the data wizard, dropped some mind-bending figures: $28.65 billion spent on foreign education between 2010 and 2020? That’s enough to buy every Nigerian student a lifetime supply of textbooks (and maybe a few Red Bulls for late-night cramming). And don’t even get him started on medical bills abroad, clocking in at a cool $11 billion during the same period, because apparently, Nigerian hospitals are just “not good enough” for some folks.
Combined, that’s a whopping $40 billion hemorrhaging out of our precious foreign exchange reserves! To put that in perspective, that’s more money than the entire piggy bank of the Central Bank itself! So, basically, while you’re sipping tea in Switzerland getting your bunions fixed, you’re draining the well back home.
He noted, “Given this data, it is crucial to highlight that between 2010 and 2020, foreign educational expenses amounted to a substantial $28.65 billion, as for the CBN publicly available balance of payment statistics.
“Similarly, medical treatment abroad has entered around $11bn in costs during the same period. Consequently, over the past decade, foreign exchange demand for education and healthcare has totaled nearly $40 billion.
“Notably, this amount surpasses the total foreign exchange reserves of the CBN. Mitigating a significant portion of this demand could have resulted in a considerably stronger naira today.”
Now, Cardoso wasn’t pointing fingers (well, not directly), but he did suggest that if we, as a nation, could dial down the foreign spending on education and healthcare, maybe, just maybe, the naira wouldn’t be doing the samba every time someone mentions “dollar.”
Cue the stunned silence in the House chamber. You could practically hear the collective “uh oh” as lawmakers realized their fancy degrees and overseas checkups might be contributing to the economic woes they love to complain about.
So, what’s the takeaway? Well, maybe next time you consider sending little Wale to Oxford or jetting off for a tummy tuck in Dubai, think twice. Your personal choices might be having a bigger impact on the national economy than you think. And hey, who knows, maybe a Nigerian university or hospital might just surprise you! Or at least, they’ll be cheaper than a private jet.
Remember, folks, knowledge is power, but sometimes, it’s also expensive. Choose wisely, and maybe, just maybe, we can all afford to laugh again (without crying about the exchange rate).