The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) have said that an end to medical tourism was in sight following the scores of medical prospects interested in taking advantage of the new special medical free zone scheme in Lekki area of Lagos.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director, made the remark while playing host to officials of two foreign hospital management companies, Citizens Health Limited and Brown Brommel Medicals in Abuja.
Adesugba said both companies’ move to establish world class hospitals and pharmaceutical industries in the new Special Medical Free Zone signalled a gradual end to unnecessary medical tourism abroad.
He revealed that both health management companies were to invest in world class hospitals for cancer and kidney respectively.
The NEPZA boss described the development as a realisation of a joint dream, in line with the authority’s drive to use the special medical zones to end decades of medical tourism by Nigerians abroad.
According to him, the frequent and sustained medical trips abroad by citizens continued to hurt the economy badly.
Adesugba noted that the newly approved special medical zone located in Lekki was attracting expected attention.
He furthered that the huge area overlooking large body of water and isolated swamps clustered by the Lekki quadrant of Lagos free zone, Lekki free zone, Dangote free zone enterprises as well as Alaro city free zone made it a hot-spot for investment chains.
Adesugba promised that NEPZA was prepared to relax perceived stringent rules to ensure the comfort of anchor tenants.
He said that the future gains that could be accrued to investors who dared to first explore the zone usually would out-weigh the initial challenges.
“The Special Medical Zone in Lekki will be competitive as we are working toward the concentration of world class hospitals there.
“We are searching for anchor tenants to drive this revolution and already, scores of prospective investors have come knocking on our door, so you are welcome to collaborate with us.
“I hope you are aware that the location is one of the best sites in the country with great opportunity for other business chains ranging from transport/logistics, electricity, estate development, tourism/hospitality among others.
“We are also opened to bringing into the zone world class pharmaceutical companies to serve Africa and the rest of the world from Lekki so the prospect of the zone is unimaginable,’’ Adesugba said.
He also charged that investors prospect similar zones in Katsina and Ilorin, saying that the Federal Government was committed to using the special medical/pharmaceutical free zones to drastically reduce medical tourism abroad.
Mr Brain Barnes, Vice President, Brown Brommel Medicals, said the company had come to explore the possibility of setting up of an advanced modern integrated diagnostic and dialysis center in the zone.
Barnes, represented by Mr Chris Obuekwe, Group Managing Director, Brown Brommel Medicals, said that the centre, proposed to sit on 10 hectares of land, would also provide sundry medical services.
He stated that the company was delighted to take advantage of the country’s free trade zone scheme, noting that citizens deserved to enjoy the best of medical services the world could provide.
On her part, Ms Cynthia Okirie, a Director with the Citizen Health Limited, said the company aimed at tapping into the free zone incentives to transfer the required health technology and services into the country.
“Citizen Heath Limited UK is known for its proficiency in the treatment and management of cancer.
“The Lekki special medical free zone would serve as the ideal lunch pad for the improvement of the health sector in Nigeria,” she