Our healthcare intervention has reduced medical tourism and preserved Forex for Nigeria —Emefiele

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said on Saturday that the healthcare intervention of the apex bank under his leadership had reduced medical tourism in Nigeria.

The CBN Governor said so during the 33rd Seminar for Financial Correspondents and Business Writers organized by the apex bank.

The theme of the seminar was “Policy Options for Economic Diversification: Moving Beyond Crude Oil”.

Apart from reducing medical tourism, Emefiele said the CBN’s intervention in the health sector helps Nigeria retain its foreign currency and improve the welfare of the people.

Statistics have shown that the Nigerian currency spends more than 500 billion naira on medical tourism every year

In July this year, the bank disbursed N4.44 billion for three healthcare projects under the Health Sector Response Center (HSIF), bringing cumulative disbursements to N133.42 billion. naira for 129 projects, comprising 76 hospitals, 32 pharmaceuticals and 21 other health services.

Emefiele described the theme of the workshop as appropriate and timely as it is in line with the CBN’s quest and resolve to change the narratives of dependence on a single-product, oil-driven economy, towards building a broad and well-diversified base that guarantees overall macroeconomic stability.

The CBN boss said the quest to build a more sophisticated economy anchored on agriculture, micro, small and medium enterprises, industrial and manufacturing enterprises has become the major component of the bank’s monetary policy umbrella.

He said, “Nigeria has relied heavily on the oil sector to generate revenue over the past four decades and the sustained decline in crude oil production has continued to adversely affect the performance of the economy.

“Thus, there is an urgent need to make a conscious effort to diversify into other non-oil sectors. As I have often said, it is important that we work to create an economy that allows us to feed ourselves, to create jobs for our many young people and to improve the standard of living of our people.

“With our population growing at more than 3% per year for the past seven years, against less than steady growth in output since 2019, the economy’s expansion of production and industrial capacity must do the focus of particular attention to ensure overall macroeconomic stability.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria, under my leadership, has made tremendous strides in diversifying the economy away from a largely oil-based economy through our many interventions.

“We have supported non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, education, energy and aviation and other related economic value chains.

“Allow me to take advantage of this media to inform you once again that our intervention in the health sector, for example, has started to reduce health care tourism sought out of the country, which contributes maintain our currencies and improve our well-being.”

Emefiele also explained that the CBN’s continued support to the manufacturing sector and MSMEs has yielded great results.

Furthermore, he said that the new 100 percent policy on production and productivity, which aims to exploit local raw materials to increase domestic production, as well as exports through our deliberate credit and other support, will soon start producing quality results.

Moreover, he added that the RT200 FX initiative is implemented to leverage the large domestic production to other regional markets and increase foreign exchange inflows into the economy.

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