Investment Business - News - September 16, 2022

Nigeria’s sovereign wealth agency seal pact to commit fresh $100m in health sector

By Bassey Udo

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on Thursday signed agreement to commit an additional $100 million investment in the country’s health sector.

The Managing Director (MD) of NSIA, Uche Orji, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the NSIA Healthcare Expansion Programme agreement signing ceremony with some tertiary health institutions, and three state governments.

The NSIA boss expressed satisfaction with the performance of the agency’s investment in the sector, noting that the benefiting hospitals and diagnostic centres have received enhanced capacity to provide quality healthcare that meets international standards.

The benefiting centres, and he said, needed huge investments to provide state-of-the-art equipment that could compete with the best hospitals in the world, to discourage medical tourism in Nigeria, estimated to gulp over $1 billion in foreign exchange annually, and while
helping retain Nigerian medical personnel in the country.

“Each of the centres require certain level of investment, diagnostics centres, including working capital, all the radiology equipment- none is under $5 million each”, he said.

“The cancers centres are somewhere between $12 million and $20 million depending on the level of infrastructure on ground that we meet.

“They are all profitable once we are running. So once you make the investment, provide the working capital, it helps you jump start. It starts first of all as a business so they provide their own revenue, their own Profit and Loss,” he said.

Orji said the initial project which started as a cancer treatment programme in Lagos “now has more than 200,000 patient encounters and continuing.”

He said the NSIA was actually beginning to expand the Lagos centre, to be able to keep up with the growing demand.

The Lagos Centre, he said, was currently operating on a high-quality reasonable price, to enable the NSIA deliver the cost of the treatments at about 20 percent less of what patients would pay in Ghana, to allow the facility be run on a sustainable manner.

The same thing, he said, was happening with Kano and Umuahia where the demand was actually beginning to exceed theie capacity.

On concerns about the exodus of Nigerian health workers out of the country, Orji said that has not affected its medical staff, all of whom were sent abroad for specialized training returned home after such training.

The deals sealed in Abuja were for the expansion of the NSIA Diagnostics and Oncology Expansion Programme.

Under the agreements, the NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company (NHDIC) an NSIA Company would work with five Federal Medical Centres and three State Governments Lease and Collaboration.

The medical centres include Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital Bauchi, Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Akwa Ibom and University College Hospital Board of Management, Oyo state.

The state governments that entered partnership deals with the NSIA were Enugu, Kaduna and Kwara.

Under the programme the authority would establish 23 diagnostic centres, seven catheterization laboratories and two oncology centres across Nigeria.

“Each centre will run as a joint venture between NSIA and the respective tertiary hospital to ensure timely and efficient delivery of services,” the MD announced.

“The expansion plan is going to get to every state in Nigeria. All the centres will deal with different levels of complexities. All the centers are not the same. While some will be on diagnostics, others will be on Oncology, depending on the needs of the centres.

”We are raising capital by buying in more investors to invest in the project. If it works we will see more investments coming to the sector,” he added.

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