FG disburses N100 billion loans to pharmaceutical companies

The Federal Government has disclosed that it disbursed N100 billion loans to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare investors

as loans to help the companies expand their capital base and boost local production of medicines and other medical consumables.

 President Muhammadu Bihari, said this while receiving the new executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)

 recently in Abuja, explained that the loan was extended through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) support for the private pharmaceutical sector.

 He stated that the Health Sector Reform Committee headed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is currently exploring models for revitalising the nation’s healthcare system in ways that will improve the quality of care and the benefits package for care providers.

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 Buhari urged NMA and other stakeholders in the health sector to support the government’s initiatives and work with the committee set up to chart a fast track to a health system that best meets the needs of Nigerians in the 21st century.

 The President also commended the NMA for consistently choosing peaceful resolution of differences on matters pertinent to the national health system.

 He said: “I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the Diaspora.

 “Our response to COVID -19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key to the success story. I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executive visited me and made recommendations for the health sector.”

  He said the recommendations included the review and amendment of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act, upgrading and equipping existing health institutions, loans to fund hospital equipment, the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dentist Practitioners Act and appeal for more funding for the four newly established universities of medical sciences.

 “I am pleased to inform you that most of the recommendations have been addressed, while further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications,” he added.

Speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who led the medical practitioners to the President, pointed out that the doctors have been good partners with the ministry in helping to regulate the health profession and stressing quality service delivery.

 Responding, the President of the NMA, Dr Uche Ojinmah, who said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on May 21, 2022, commended President Buhari for signing the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act aimed at improving the country’s health indices, adding that the constitution of the Health Reform Committee under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the infrastructure projects embarked upon by the Buhari administration would boost performance of the health sector.

 Ojinmah enjoined the President to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act, provision of adequate work equipment and necessary budgetary support, as well as extending the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and 65 years for non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers.

  He also advocated the implementation of the Hazard Allowance that was circularised in December 2021 with the arrears, as well as the setting up of a Health Bank in the country.

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