By Ifeoma Aka
Enugu – As part of effort to boost healthcare system in Enugu state, the state House of Assembly (ESHA), has approved the request by the state government to secure N2.5 billion intervention fund from Central Bank of Nigeria.
The loan request is contained in a letter sent by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi which was read at plenary in Enugu on Thursday by the Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi.
Ubosi said that the CBN intervention fund would be used for the building and expansion of the healthcare facilities as well as acquisition of medical equipment in the state.
He said the state Executive Council approved the intervention fund in the public interest and consistent with the administration’s vision.
The speaker pointed out that the global healthcare system had been overwhelmed by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, with developing countries struggling to cope with the magnitude of the crisis.
He added that the situation in Nigeria had further brought to the fore the inadequacies of the healthcare infrastructure.
“You are aware that with our previous investments we have on ground healthcare facilities that meet the needs of our people.
“However, the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic compels the strengthening of the state Health System to deliver optimal health services and effectively cope with all future public health challenges.
“In respect of this loan, United Bank for Africa PLC had made an offer for a facility of N2,500,000,000.00 only.
“The maximum tenure of the loan is 10 years and is for building and expansion of the state healthcare facilities, as well as acquisition of medical equipment,” Ubosi noted.
The leader of the House, Mr Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, noted that the intervention fund would help the state government to upgrade all healthcare facilities in the state to enable them to tackle COVID-19 pandemic
Ezeugwu said the state could not afford not to participate in the CBN’s intervention fund like other states of the federation, noting that it was federal government-funded loan.
Also, a member representing Igbo Etiti East Constituency, Mr Ezenta Ezeani, while supporting the loan, said the building and expansion of health facilities should be done equitably that would benefit every part of the state.
“With this approval, the residents of the state are hopeful that hospitals and healthcare centres in the state will wear a new look, thereby making Enugu state a medical tourism destination centre in South East Region,” he said.