Can medical free zones revolutionise healthcare in Nigeria?

 

NEPZA establishes, licenses, regulates and operates free zones by providing a competitive incentive scheme, support facilities and services for the purpose of creating an enabling environment for commercial activities. State governors who have already assessed the benefits derivable from the proposed project are currently jostling to have the zone or zones located in their respective states.

The federal government, through NEPZA, is prepared to locate the project in a state that met all the requirements, but the authority will not relax any of its guidelines in the process due to the sensitive nature of sector. NEPZA is exploring the possibility of situating the project in more than one state.

This project is aimed at ending the US$1 billion spent annually on medical tourism by Nigerians. NEPZA believes the zones will attract some of the best hospitals from abroad, and encourage Nigerians to spend money inside the country instead.

The plan is to have 15 foreign hospitals and a few from within Nigeria that could deliver services by 2021. The project is in the 2021 NEZPA budget.

The Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, a coalition of private healthcare sector stakeholders, has said it supports the opportunity to invest in a zone.

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