Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has lamented that medical tourism is putting a huge strain on the country’s foreign reserves.
Emefiele said this at the launch of a new hospital in Ikeja, Lagos State.
While appealing to the private sector to invest in medical facilities to improve access to healthcare in the country, Emefiele noted that for every $1 billion allocated to medical treatment abroad, there is less than $1 billion that could be available to other critical sectors of our 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”, he said.
“As part of this effort, the CBN and select private sector stakeholders supported COVID-19 intervention initiatives through CACOVID.
“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”.
The CBN governor also disclosed that the apex bank has earmarked N100 billion to support the healthcare sector.
He, however, noted that the monetary policy committee said it should move it further up to N200 billion.
“We would continue to do whatever can be done to support healthcare,” he added.