Medical tourism affecting Nigeria’s foreign reserves – Central Bank Governor

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has stated that medical tourism is affecting Nigeria’s foreign reserves negatively. Emefiele made the above statement at the launch of Privately-owned Duchess International Hospital in Lagos.

 He made use of the medium to call on the private sector to invest in the health sector and provide world class facilities that will attract medical tourist from different parts of the world; which in turn will boost the nation’s economy.

“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.” The governor said.

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

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 Emefiele further stressed on the importance of a continuous support for the medical sector even though the monetary policy recognized that the interventions in the manufacturing sector were more essential in driving Nigeria’s economic recovery.

The governor equally recognized the contribution by some of the financial institutions like the Central Bank which contributed immensely to the healthcare sector during the peak of the COVID 19 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.

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