The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several gaps that require immediate attention in the healthcare system in Nigeria and international investors are seeking to fill the void.
According to CNBC News, Nigeria lags behind relative to its African neighbors in terms of expenditure and access.
“For example, Nigeria’s public spending on health care amounts to just 3.89% of its $495 billion GDP (gross domestic product), according to the latest available figures from the World Bank, compared to 8.25% in South Africa and 5.17% in Kenya.
“According to a recent report from real estate consultancy Knight Frank, Nigeria would require 386,000 additional beds and $82 billion of investment in health-care real estate assets to reach the global average of 2.7 beds per thousand people.”
What you should know
- According to the poll conducted by Knight Frank of 140 global investors in June, it found out that 80% were keen on investing in African health infrastructure in the light of the coronavirus crisis and basically on hospital-related real estate and operating companies in collaboration with domestic experts.
- Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been broad-based interests in African health-care assets. For example, the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, partnered with the Investment Fund for Health in Africa-II (IFHA-II) in November 2019 to form a $115 million acquisition vehicle for health-care service businesses in the east and south of the continent.
- Also, some European development finance organizations such as Swedfund, the Swedish development finance institution are as well collaborating with IFHA, along with the likes of Pfizer and the Stichting Social Investor Foundation for Africa, whose sponsors include Aegon, Heineken, Shell and Unilever among others.
- It is to be noted that the spurred interest from investors is not unrelated to the Nigerian government issuance of N100 billion (about $254.6 million) in state credit facilities for health care, from pharmaceutical companies and product manufacturers to service providers, with the Bank of Industry(BOI) supporting with additional N50billion credit line.
What they are saying
According to Hafeez Giwa, Managing partner at HC Capital Properties (investors in health-care assets in Nigeria):
- “There is a very compelling opportunity for the development of world-class healthcare facilities across Africa, but especially Nigeria.
- “Most of the public hospitals here were constructed over 40 years ago and only a handful have received any investment since then.
- “On the one hand, there are local institutional investors and local pension funds that, in Nigeria’s case, are Naira investors and do not have any concerns about currency risk.
- “On the other hand, there are development impact investors and institutions that are excited by the prospect of delivering high-quality healthcare to lower- and middle-income Nigerians.”
According to Tosin Runsewe, CEO at health-care investment firm, AfyACare Nigeria:
- “Obligatory health insurance for federal employees would see insurance costs lowered and the percentage of health-care costs covered could rise to between 20% and 30% by 2030.
- “If we could attain a critical mass of 40 million to 60 million Nigerians with healthcare cover, the cost of this treatment could be met through health insurance premiums of around only 20,000 Naira ($50) a year, half the current average cost.
- “There is an array of opportunities for investors in private primary healthcare clinics that can provide services at an affordable cost.”
Why this matters
Nigeria spends over $1 billion per year for outbound health tourism especially among wealthier Nigerians due to inadequate domestic access.
Making our health care delivery system work more effectively and efficiently would, to a large extent, save this huge haemorrhage and conserve the country’s fast depleting foreign reserves.
Access to comprehensive, quality health care services is important for promoting and maintaining health, preventing and managing diseases, reducing unnecessary disability and premature death, and achieving health equity for all Nigerians.
Lagos reviews building permit approvals and processing time
The Lagos State Government has promised to review planning permit processing time and reduce the lay-out approval process.
The Lagos State Government has promised to review planning permit processing time from 28 to 18 days and reduce the lay-out approval process from 90 to 30 days.
This is part of measures employed by the state to re-engineer their operating procedures to meet the 21st-century demands of the Lagos Megacity.
According to a statement from the Assistant Director of the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mukaila Sanusi, this was contained in a communiqué adopted from resolutions of an annual retreat of the ministry and its agencies.
What the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is saying
Sanusi in a statement, said, “Highlights of the forward-looking resolutions include the reduction of Planning Permit processing time from 28 to 18 days, reduction of lay-out approval process from 90 to 30 days and the adoption of one stage approval for layout instead of the existing two stages.’’
He pointed out that the staff agreed that the ministry and its agencies should step up their efforts toward realizing their mandates, especially in relation to the 21st century Lagos Economic goal.
He said, “They resolved to enhance synergy between and among the agencies, particularly the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).’’
According to the statement, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, was quoted as saying the resolutions were capable of delivering many advantages.
Some of the benefits of the re-engineered process
Salako listed the benefits to include;
- Improved revenue,
- Enhanced service delivery,
- Reduction of bottlenecks in Planning Permit and Layout approvals,
- Drastic reduction in illegal building construction,
- Seamless attainment of an orderly and sustainable environment.
He urged the workforce to fulfil the content of the communiqué with a renewed commitment to providing needed solutions to the challenges in the system.
What this means
The implementation of the resolutions reached at the annual retreat of the ministry and its agencies will ensure that developers apply and process building permits easier, faster and less cumbersome.
It will also eliminate the delays and bottlenecks experienced at state government agencies and reduce the spate of illegal and unapproved buildings.
Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa to dip to $41 billion in 2021- Report
Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa are likely to decline by 6.8% to $41 billion in 2021 as against $44 billion achieved in 2020.
Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa have been projected to decline by 6.8% to $41 billion in 2021, from $44 billion achieved in 2020.
This was disclosed in the Foresight Africa 2021 report, a publication of African Growth Initiatives of the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions.
According to the report:
- “The pandemic has significantly dampened new migration flows worldwide due to widespread travel restrictions, fear of the virus, and weak job prospects. In many host countries, employment levels for foreign workers have fallen, invariably more so than for native-born workers.
- “A significant number of unemployed migrant workers are returning to their countries of origin, which are now facing the challenge of accommodating hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of returnees, including through the provision of health care, housing, jobs, and financial support.
- “In the long run, migration flows from Africa are expected to increase significantly, driven by income gaps, the rapidly growing working-age population, and climate change.
- “Notably, the average income in high-income OECD countries is over 50 times the average income in low-income countries. At recent (pre-COVID-19) growth rates, it would take over a hundred years to close that gap; the pandemic is likely to worsen it.”
What you should know
- The cost of sending money appears to be quite high and might need to be reduced. For example, the fees paid to remittance service providers to send money to Africa average nearly 9% – the highest rate in the world and three times the Sustainable Development Goal target for remittance costs of 3%.
- Also, most of the popular digital platforms during the crisis have had their fees reviewed upward in recent months.
- No doubt, a decision to lower the burden of sending remittances would maximize remittance inflows which are important sources of financing for development in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
- It is important that the policymakers work assiduously to make sure remittance service providers do not face difficulties in partnering with correspondent banks via strategic collaborations with post offices, micro-finance banks and other financial institutions, Telcos, etc. to remove entry barriers and increase competition in the remittance markets
- It is suggested that the global community should consider creating a non-profit remittance platform to provide a one-stop solution to keep remittances flowing and leverage them for development financing for the benefit of millions of poor people in Africa and the rest of the world.
One killed, 15 kidnapped by pirates on Turkish ship off Gulf of Guinea
A Turkish ship was attacked off Nigeria’s Gulf of Guinea coast, killing an Azerbaijani citizen, and kidnapping 15 sailors, with reports stating the attack, happened way offshore compared to other attacks.
This was disclosed in a report by Reuters on Sunday, as the attack happened on Saturday and has been confirmed by the Turkish government.
The Liberian-flagged vessel was headed to Cape Town from Lagos when it was attacked 160 kilometers (100 miles) off Sao Tome island on Saturday, maritime reports showed.
The ship which was Liberian Flagged was on its way to Cape Town from Lagos, was attacked 160 kilometers off Sao Tome, crew members added that the attack was well planned as the pirates stormed the Ship’s protective citadel.
The Gabonese government has confirmed the Ship has reached its waters as 3 Sailors remain on the ship, Mozart,
“The ship is in our waters and our sailors are assisting a few nautical miles from Port Gentil,” Gabon’s presidency spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha, said.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Erdogan spoke with the fourth captain of the ship, Furkan Yaren, and assured them that he will “rescue of kidnapped ship personnel”.
Furkan Yaren, disclosed that the Ship had been “cruising blindly” towards Gabon as Pirates damaged most of the ship’s controls leaving only radar working.
Nigerian Navy commander, Edward Yeibo, revealed that Nigeria was not aware of the attack as to when it happened but would seek more details about it.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea recorded an unprecedented increase in piracy attacks in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau in its 2020 Annual Piracy report.
- The IMB reported that 135 crew members were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% kidnapped. A record of 130 crew members was kidnapped in 22 separate incidents.
- The FG launched the $195 million Deep Blue Project which is a NIMASA initiative aimed at the prevention of illegal activities in the maritime domain. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi stated that all equipment needed for the Deep Blue Project will be ready by March 2021.
- Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, has called for military intervention in the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea, which has made the gulf the new global headquarters for piracy.