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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Saraki Urges India to Invest in Nigeria’s Health Sector To Reduce Medical Tourism

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Indian authorities to partner with the Federal Government in encouraging investors to build and maintain world class health facilities in the country.

Saraki who made the call when the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabruihana Reddy, visited him in Abuja, said such partnership would drastically reduce the number of Nigerians who daily go to India and other Western countries for medical treatment.

According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, the President of the Senate, said that the National Assembly is committed to ensure that the good relations between India and the country is sustained.

"Another area is the issue of medical treatment for which I know a lot of Nigerians visit India," Saraki who is a medical doctor said. "It is time for us to start looking at how we can facilitate the medical institutions in India to set up similar outfits here in Nigeria and also how we can create that enabling environment that will make that happen. I think Nigerians are yearning for that kind of development here."

Saraki also told his guest that the similarities that exist between Nigeria and India means that both countries have useful experiences they can share to their common advantage.

"Talking about the relationship between the National Assembly and the Indian Parliament, I think it goes again to some of the important things I think we can learn from each other," Saraki said. "The similarities between Nigeria and India means that we have similar experiences that we can share, particularly in the area of the economy which is very important to us. We want to be able to learn from you in the area of ICT and how we can continue to engage our youths to develop the sector."

He added: "Today if you look at the growth in the ICT, this is one of the very few places that huge penetration potentials still exist in Nigeria and I think that there is a big role India can play in helping us develop our ICT sector.

"And when you look at ICT development, it also goes with the right kind of legislation and I think that this is an area that we can learn from you by looking at the kind of legislations you put in place that helped to boost locally driven ICT growth. That is something you have done very well and I think it will help us in creating jobs for our teaming youths.

"There are other areas, of course, like agriculture, that we can continue to work together  and I think that there is a role you can play in our drive for Made in Nigeria products and the diversification of the economy.

"I say that because you have a huge community in the commerce and business sector that needs to be motivated and encouraged to support backward integration. A lot of products are still being imported into Nigeria which I think can be produced locally. I think you have a lot of Indian companies that can work closely with us to do that because of the opportunities here." Saraki said.

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabruihana Reddy, in his response, said that India is willing to continue to work in tandem with the Federal Government's economic policies in the area of healthcare, ICT, agriculture and others.

He said that the Indian government is already encouraging its nationals  to invest in the medical sector in Nigeria by bringing along both medical expertise and equipment to provide healthcare services in the country.

Reddy said: "I wish to cite a few examples of how we are trying to work in tandem with the larger national objectives of the Nigerian government. For example, in the Information and Communication Technology sector, we organized what is called the Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos, and we tried to use that platform not only to develop the interactions among the right partners, we also used it as a hub for the rest of Africa.

"Regarding the medical care, I like to mention that we are encouraging investors to come from India, bringing expertise both in terms of manpower and equipment to come and establish in Nigeria. I am happy to report that we have an eye care hospital coming up and also a cancer care investors coming up to invest in Nigeria."

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