Medical tourism straining Nigeria’s foreign reserves – Emefiele

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that medical tourism puts a huge strain on the country’s foreign reserves.

This disclosure was made by the CBN governor at the launch of Duchess International Hospital, a newly built 100-suit health facility located in Ikeja, Lagos.

Emefiele called on private sector operators to invest in medical facilities to improve access to healthcare in the country.

“Medical tourism puts a huge strain on our foreign reserves, and more importantly, for every $1bn allocated to medical treatment abroad, there is less than $1bn that could be available to other critical sectors of our economy,” he said.

“As part of this effort, the CBN and select private sector stakeholders supported COVID-19 intervention initiatives through CACOVID.”

To drive the recovery of Nigeria’s economy, the CBN governor said the monetary policy recognised that while the interventions in the manufacturing sector were essential, it was also important to continue to give support to the medical sector.

“When we started COVID-19 intervention initiatives, the CBN set aside N100bn to support the healthcare sector, but upon the rise in demand, we have disbursed N107.7bn, supporting 114 healthcare projects which include medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, dental services, eye clinics both private and public hospital – just to mention a few,” he said.

Emefiele said the CBN had earmarked N100 billion to support the healthcare sector but the monetary policy committee said it should move it further up to N200 billion.

“We would continue to do whatever can be done to support healthcare,” he added.

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