Foreign direct investment still a major incentive to boost healthcare service – Experts
Experts see Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as necessary catalyst for deals in hospitals and clinics to enhance treatment abilities, improve medical technologies and boost the healthcare services in Nigeria.
India, China, Turkey, South Africa, whereas major partnership and joint ventures comes from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, according to survey done by our reporter shows that most FDI in the health industry are mainly form these countries.
“Investments are needed to grow the health sector and the economy at large. Foreign Direct Investment into the health sector has been quite poor compared to other sectors. Between 2007 and 2012, 7 billion $ per year came into the country as FDI,” said Chibuzo Opara co-founder of Drugstoc.
Opara added that the petrodollar crash affected these inflows but they have started to rise again with just over 900 million $ coming realised in the first quarter of 2017. Oil and gas and telecoms have traditionally taken the larger share of FDI”.
“It is quite obvious why; healthcare requires patient capital which can be invested over 5 to 7 years while these other monies are more volatile,
“attracting FDI into the healthcare sector requires deliberate policy work by Government with regards industrialisation and FDI in order to ensure that investors are attracted to the healthcare industry. For instance this could start with including healthcare into the National Industrial Revolution Plan among other similar tools utilised to drive investments into the country,” said Opara.
Analysts say Nigeria health sector remains a good and attractive industry to do business with huge opportunities and high profit margin up to 70 per cent.
Medical tourism will likely continue despite the slack to the economy, there is need to forestall the increase in medical tourism as the recent increase in foreign direct investment in the health sector in Nigeria by establishment of Hospitals, Diagnostic centres and Pharmaceutical industries by foreign investors especially from the Middle East, partnering with international bodies and Nigerian healthcare specialists in diaspora.
More investment will bridge the noticeable gap and also help in eliminating the issue of medical tourism, analysts say.
“FDI has impacted in the Nigeria health sector as it has influence why the country has some hospitals and diagnostic centres with expensive high-tech equipment that are non-existent or broken down in many government hospitals, said Doyin Odubanjo, chairman, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter.
According to Lekan Ewenla, National Publicity Secretary, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria, said that FDI in the health sector is pretty low as we speak today, and that could be due to the challenges in the industry generally.
“The country loses billions every year to medical tourism with Nigerians travelling abroad for medical procedures, if you do not want Nigerians not to travel out of the county to get medical care, you should have a stand”.
As Ewenla opined, that until we the law is made mandatory, until when compliance structure is put in place. Then they might be little improvements and development in section of our medical facilities by expatriates, even by Nigerians inviting their business partners because they know they will have the privilege.
“It is time we have to be looking at the supply side; the demands have been shading the light of supply. There will be a lot of significant turnaround, significant improvements, even in the attitude of the health workers” he added.
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