Agency decries over $2b spent yearly on medical tourism by Nigerians
• Seeks FEC Support To Establish Medical Special Economic Zones
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has expressed dismay over continued spending of over $2b on medical tourism by Nigerians, noting that the trend does not speak well of the nation’s health system.
It, therefore, solicited the support of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to establish Medical Special Economic Zones across the country.
NEPZA’s Managing Director, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba made the request while presenting the concept to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo in Abuja.
In a statement, Adesugba explained that the medical zones would help to fast track the country’s industrialisation process and to scale-up the healthcare system.
The NEPZA chief said it was important the concept is adopted by FEC, as a national project, and that such show of political-will was needed to ward-off investors’ fears and reservations.
He argued that the over $2b capital flight on medical tourism yearly was a needless astronomical cost of medical services abroad, which has a serious negative effect on Nigeria’s economy.
Adesugba, therefore, explained that the project, when brought to limelight, would invariably showcase Nigeria’s potential as a medical tourism destination.
He also outlined the Authority’s vision for the project with details on the pilot project, benefits to Nigeria, components of the MSEZ, criteria for site selection and success, the steps taken to date, which included stakeholder engagement, gazette of MSEZ in third schedule of activities, state engagement and budget allocation, as well as the proposed implementation strategy.
Meanwhile, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has honoured the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo with the ACCI Gold Award in recognition of his impressive contributions to the country’s growth of trade and commerce, through active support for the private sector.
The NEPZA boss, who is also the Association’s second Deputy President, handed the award to the minister on behalf of the association’s President, Dr Al-Mustapha Abubakar.
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