NMA, CBN in talks to boost health financing in Nigeria

* Consider creation of Health Bank as long-term goal

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

In its effort at ensuring that lack of access to credit and capital investments becomes a thing of the past, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to explore necessary channels and enabling environment for medical personnel to access ‘favourable loans’ to improve the healthcare industry.

Reports say that the NMA believes this will enable those who want to set up private hospitals and outfits to have access to favourable loans, and eradicate the constraints to the improvement of the private health sector in country.

Dr. Francis Faduyile, NMA President, disclosed this during the Association’s visit to Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, in Abuja, Monday.

According to Dr. Faduyile, “the Lack of access to credit and capital investments has consistently been found to represent one of the main constraints to the improvement of the private health sector in Nigeria.

“Access to finance becomes further complicated with high costs of borrowing, short tenor of loans and high currency risk.

“The conditions of lending virtually exclude assisting young doctors who do not have established clientele and require three to five years to build a practice.

“Female entrepreneurial doctors eager to provide services, especially to mothers and children, find it hard to do so, the NMA President stated.

He as well observed that doctors in hard-to-reach areas and conflict afflicted zones are unable to do so due to the prevailing conditions in these areas.

“Most of the providers who have established their own businesses have done so through personal and family savings,” he said.

He, therefore, urged the CBN to help in the creation of a Health Bank like the Bank of Agriculture (BoA), which will further increase access to funds to catalyse the needed development and upgrade in health facilities and equipment.

“We have also discussed this issue of the Health Bank with His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, during our courtesy visit to the State House on 16th July, 2019, and through many other communiqués.

“Also, there is need for the creation of a health specific window in the following instruments – Micro Small Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDEF) and the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF).

“Until recently, these instruments were not available to the health sector.

“However, we urge you to create further incentives to catalyse the much needed investments in the health sector,” Faduyile added.

He solicited that the CBN work with both the Development Bank Of Nigeria (DBN) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) to support the demand and supply sides of healthcare financing in Nigeria.

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