Medical tourism putting huge strain on foreign reserves – CBN

CBN Governor, Godwin EmefieleThe Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said medical tourism is putting a huge strain on the country’s foreign reserves.

Emefiele said on Friday that the CBN and other banks would support the healthcare sector to reverse the trend.

He spoke during the official launch of Duchess International Hospital in Lagos which was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and some state governors.

He said, “Medical tourism put 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.

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

He said to further drive the recovery of the economy, 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,” Emefiele said.

He encouraged banks to lend and the private sector to also invest in the country.

Our correspondents gathered that Duchess International Hospital, which was built to international standard, got loan interventions from some banks.

Emefiele said the CBN would tell the banks to help restructure the loan facilities of the hospital as it was pleased with the project.

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