From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed plans to raise $200 million through the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in collaboration with other partners. It also aid it plans to plough the funds into pharmaceutical infrastructure, including the execution of about 20 projects in the healthcare sector under the Health Intervention Initiative.
It said the funds would also be deployed into the manufacture of essential drugs, COVID-19 vaccines, other vaccines, and construction of cancer centres in order to discontinue huge dependence on foreign imports.
Managing Director of the agency, Uche Orji, made the disclosure, yesterday, at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team.
Said Orji “In NSIA, we can sponsor, we can co-develop and we can just invest. We are looking at all three options; the more difficult ones, we will do ourselves and the easier ones we will look at some companies that already have existing infrastructure and work with them.
“Some of these infrastructure are just so archaic and so far behind and it is better to just build them brand new, like we did with the Cancer centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), we just demolished it and started afresh. These are all the things we need to do but we have established the fact that it is important, we will do that and I am certain we will complete something in healthcare this year. We are trying to raise a $200 million fund; not just NSIA, there are other investors that have indicate interest so the documentation for getting the third party funds is ongoing.”
The NSIA boss speaking on plans to build 20 cancer centres across the country, said: “Our objective now is to build 20 more of these centres across the country. We are starting this year with three, we are going to roll out seven more centres next year, then another 10 the following year. So, there will be 20 of these centres across the country and it is everything from cancer to radiology and diagnostics but then, our flagship programme is a world class hospital that we are building here in Abuja and that will be the centre for advanced medicine.”
On other NSIA intervention areas, Orji listed the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways as well as the second Niger bridge as the main interventions of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said all projects carried out by the NSIA are the President’s legacy projects and the inauguration of many of them would be done next year.
Orji said N206.2 billion was budgeted for the 2nd Niger bridge and so far, N132.7 billion has been released, adding that the bridge would be inaugurated in 2022.
For the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Orji disclosed that road, spanning 127 kilometres, N311.4 billion was earmarked and so far, N90.8 billion has been released and the project would be completed in July 2022.
He said the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway, covering a distance of 375 kilometres will gulp N155.72 billion but so far, N111.1 billion has been released for the project.