By Muhammad Auwal
The Federal Government through the Infrastructure Concessions Regulatory Agency (ICRC) has issued the Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificate to Federal Ministry of Health for the rehabilitation and concession of Federal Teaching Hospitals to improve access to quality healthcare services in Nigeria.
The Director-General of ICRA, Mr Chidi Izuwah, while presenting the compliance certificate in Abuja on Tuesday, said the certificate outlined the next sets of step that would be done to obtain full approval.
Izuwah said the certificate also outlined the steps toward signing concession agreement, get financial closure and deliver the project immediately.
He added that ICRA suggested an accelerated system because of the importance of health to the overall development of the country, adding that “our job is to bring private investment to upscale these facilities’’.
Izuwah said that the OBC has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure its viability, adding that ICRA has confirmed its bankability for optimal delivery of healthcare to Nigerians.
He observed that the project would transform Nigeria’s tertiary health institutions, improve access to healthcare, reduce medical tourism and create direct and indirect employment for Nigerians.
The director-general said that the project would be fully financed by the private sector; the medical services operations and delivery would still reside with in-house consultants, nurses, midwives and technicians.
He added that the health personnel at the facilities would also be trained on the use of new equipment supplied as such there would be no loss of job.
Izuwah explained that the federal government being mindful of the dilapidation and disrepair of the teaching hospitals, embarked on the modernisation and upgrading of 14 teaching hospitals in two phases within available resouces.
He added that the contracts for rehabilitation, refurbishment, upgrading and equipment modernisation and standardisation of the teaching hospitals were awarded to CPL Medical Group and VAMED Engineering in 2003.
The federal ministry of health having realised the impact of the modernisation and upgrading of the 14 teaching hospitals was good on the maintenance of health issues felt that the project should be extended to a third phase.
“In this regards, a proposal was then forwarded to the President for approval by the then Minister of Health for the commencement of the project.
“The proposal was approved by the Presidency with a directive that the third phase of the project be implemented on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
“Under this PPP arrangement, the private sector is responsible for investing, operating and maintaining those facilities over a period of time and recover their investment from a combination of user fee and potential revenue paid by government,’’ he said.
He said CPL Medical Group through the federal ministry of health submitted an unsolicited PPP proposal which was send to ICRA.
Alhaji Abdulaziz Mashi, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, said the project was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s need for human capital development which cannot be achieved it without adequate investment in health, education and labour.
He added that ministry will take all the necessary steps to actualise the project.
He therefore tasked the director, public private partnership and Diaspora unit of the ministry, to raise Federal Executive Council memo to ensure that the ministry obtained federal executive council approval this year.
Dr Omobolanle Olowu, the Director, Public Private Partnership and Diaspora Unit, said the ministry has just crossed one of the hurdles by obtaining the ICRA certificate, adding that the ministry will go into procurement phase.
She added that the project would cover 22 teaching hospitals and a 500-bed capacity, which is going to be on stand alone and it would be called Super Specialist Hospital Abuja.