By Christiana Ekpa
President of the Senate, 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.
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.”