The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, said there was no longer the need for anyone to travel abroad to seek medical attention.
He said this after a guided tour of Duchess International Hospital in Ikeja area of Lagos.
Mohammed expressed delight that the hospital was one the projects the Federal Government has supported to succeed.
He explained that even where the project is private-sector driven, the government has either provided the enabling environment or, in some cases, supported with funding.
Mohammed described the 100-bed facility as purpose-built, state-of-the-art, which is aimed at delivering the highest standard of health care, using the most advanced technology and treatments to provide Nigerians with the best medical expertise available anywhere in the world.
He stated that patients were already coming in from other countries, stressing that it was a one-stop shop for comprehensive medical treatments.
“The Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI), provided financial support for Duchess International Hospital. Recall that in the wake of COVID-19, the CBN set up the N100billion healthcare sector intervention fund, now expanded to N200billion, to provide credit support for the healthcare sector through long-term, low-cost financing,” the minister said.
According to him, with that, Nigeria can conserve its foreign reserves, earn foreign exchange, create jobs, reverse brain drain, become a destination for medical tourists and also ensure affordable and standard healthcare for Nigerians.
“According to available records, Nigerians spend between $1.2billion and $1.6billion on medical tourism. That’s a huge drain on our foreign reserves. Also, in order to retain doctors, our health care facilities must be equipped to world standard level and doctors and other healthcare workers must be adequately remunerated.
“With what we have seen here today and the programme that has just been launched, Nigerians can now get access to affordable and world class treatment in whatever is ailing them in many areas, including emergency medicine, women’s health, paediatric care, cardiovascular medicine, kidney dialysis, dental treatment, eye care, etc”.
The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr.AdetokunboShitta-Bey, said the vision and mission of the hospital was to provide accessible, affordable and comprehensive health care to Nigerians irrespective of their status.
He corroborated the minister’s position that Nigerians now have no reason to travel outside the country for medical care.
Considering the modern facilities and the expertise at the hospital, he said patients would always feel at home throughout hours or days in admission.
The facilities toured were cardiology centre, eye care, learning and development centre, ENT, surgical and gynaecologyward, automated laboratory, intensive and critical care unit, endoscopy unit, women and children ward, dialysis centre, dental unit, pharmacy, play area for children, surgical theatre (modular and automated), radiology department, emergency room and Duchess café.
Oil Industry: PTDF Shortlists 8,800 For Overseas Scholarships
As part of efforts to boost the capacity of Nigerians to work in the oil and gas industry, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) has shortlisted 8,800 candidates from over 26,000 applicants for this year’s overseas scholarship scheme (OSS).
The PTDF OSS is an annual programme that awards scholarships to Nigerians for MSc and PhD studies in partner universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Malaysia.
Speaking on the process for this year’s selection, Manager, Overseas Scholarship Scheme, PTDF, Mr. Bello Mustapha, said the process which started in December, 2021, would see the shortlisted candidates interviewed across centres in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kaduna and Bauchi.
He said: “We are here for the 2022/2023 academic session, we have advertised the scholarship and we have called on people to apply, people have applied, over 26,000 people applied for the scholarship and over 8,000 were selected to come and do the interviews.
“We conduct the interviews in the six geopolitical zones of the country but we are doing in five geopolitical zones of the country this year because of the issues of insecurity in the South-East. So, we are using Ibadan, we are using Bauchi, we are using Port Harcourt, we are using here and we are using Kaduna”.
Mustapha explained that candidates in the South-East have been advised to pick centres outside the region to enable them participate in the interview process.
“We sent them mails to choose any centre. In all the geopolitical zones we have, you can actually choose any centre that you want. You may be in the South-East and you decide to come and do it in Abuja, or you can even go to Bauchi”.
While declining to indicate the exact number of candidates that would be finally selected for the scholarship award, he said the number would be dependent on the budget of the Fund.
He noted that at the end of their training abroad, the scholars were expected to return to the country to work in the petroleum industry and contribute their quota to growth of the Nigerian economy.
Umahi Salutes Courage Of Editors
Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi, has described the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) as a professional group that is non-partisan and “equipped with a high sense of discipline”.
The governor made this known while addressing Editors at a cocktail party after a meeting in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe, Umahi said he had studied the Nigerian Guild of Editors very well, and had come to the conclusion that indeed, they are professionals who have the capacity and potential to stimulate the political direction in the country.
He said by the infrastructure and industrial revolution going on in the state, the man (David Nweze Umahi) has “the capacity to take Nigeria to the land of Eldorado”.
The governor said many people had indicated interest to preside over the affairs of the country but do not have what it takes to provide good governance when given the opportunity.
He assured the Editors that Umahi would never renege on his promise to transform Nigeria.
In his remarks, President of the NGE, Mr Mustapha Isah, commended the state government for the various developmental projects across the state.
Isah said “We have gone round, and I assure you that the Thomas in us has disappeared.
“We have seen flyovers, good roads in fact the only bad road we saw belongs to the Federal Government.
Isah told the governor of the gigantic flyover under construction at Edda, and said when he enquired about the value of the project, he was told that the entire project cost N3billion, and was being constructed by direct labour, which, when compared to some states, was just the design stage.
The NGE president observed that Ebonyi was one state that occupies the bottom level in federal allocation but at the top in rural and urban transformation, and praised the governor for using scarce resources prudently to better the state.
He also lauded Umahi for building the King David University of Medical Sciences, saying it was world-class and the first in Nigeria, and wished him well in his future endeavours.
Also present at the occasion were members of the State Executive Council.
CBN Raises Interest Rate To 13%
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has voted to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which measures interest rate, to 13per cent.
This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while briefing newsmen at the end of MPC’s 285th meeting at the apex bank’s headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
It is the first time in two and a half years that the committee would increase the MPR.
The MPR is the baseline interest rate in an economy while every other interest rate used within such an economy is built on it.
Speaking, yesterday, Emefiele said six out of the 11 members of the committee voted to raise the key rate.
He stated that the committee also voted to retain the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR, as well as Cash Reserved Ratio (CRR) at 30per cent.
The CBN governor said the MPC also voted to retain all other parameters.
“The sharp rise in inflation across both the advanced and emerging market economies has generated growing concerns among central banks as the progressive rise in inflation driven by rising aggregate demands and wage growth has put sustainable pressure on price levels.
“Consequently, the major central banks such as the U.S. Fed, the Bank of England, European Central Bank, and Bank of Canada have provided strong guidance of a progressive shift away from monetary policy accommodation to drive market interest rate which may ultimately impact capital flows away from emerging market economies,” Emefiele said.
He, therefore, enjoined various banks in the country and the Federal Government to increase efforts in supporting monetary authority.
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