Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CNN), Godwin Emefiele, has said medical tourism is straining Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
The CBN governor spoke at an event to launch a privately-owned new 100-suit health facility, Duchess International Hospital, in Ikeja, Lagos.
He called on the private sector to invest in medical facilities that would improve access to world-class 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.
“As part of this effort, the CBN and select private sector stakeholders supported COVID-19 intervention initiatives through CACOVID,” he said.
Although the monetary policy recognised that the interventions in the manufacturing sector were essential to drive Nigeria’s economic recovery, Emefiele said it was also important to continue to support the medical sector.
The CBN governor also listed some of the bank’s contributions to the healthcare sector especially support during the pandemic.
“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 added.