Nigeria gets $18.2m from Japan to boost the health-care system

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba announced that Nigeria has obtained a $18.2 million grant from Japan to improve its health sector. During his visit to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), he disclosed this knowledge.

He claimed that his visit was to evaluate the utilization of the N49 billion investment fund allocated by the federal government to 52 federal health institutions in the region, disclosing that the Japanese assistance will take the form of medical equipment and capacity building for medical staff.

According to the Minister, this assistance is made possible by President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 visit to the Japanese Prime Minister.

Mr Clem Agba said, “I just wanted to let you know that the Irrua Specialist Hospital and the UBTH, both in Edo, are among the seven beneficiaries of this grant.

“We also collaborate with USAID, and I signed agreements with them in which they provided us with 200 ventilators, of which I am aware that Irrua Specialist Hospital received three and the UBTH received three from the 200 ventilators that we distributed across the country,” he added.

The Minister stated that one of the COVID-19 revelations was the weakness of the Nigerian health system, which is why the FG graciously approved the N49 billion investment fund for 52 federal medical centers and teaching hospitals across the country.

He clarified that the fund was intended to help develop facilities in the sector in order to maintain the country’s health system’s stability.

Agba stated that the funds were set aside for the construction of molecular laboratories, as well as the provision of a minimum of ten bedded Intensive Care Units (ICU); isolation center appliances and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); among others, in the 52 health establishments.

“This meant that each of the centers received approximately N950 million to buy the required facilities; as well as PPE for their labs, isolation centers, and ICUs,” he added.

Árgentil Capital Partners Invests in Nigeria’s healthcare industry

Árgentil Capital Management Limited, a boutique investment banking company, confirmed its equity investment in Sygen Pharmaceuticals Limited, which, along with other co-investors, was structured through the investment vehicle of the backers, Market Growth Partners.

Àrgentil has engaged in a management team-based transaction with a clear track record of over 155 years of directing and controlling FMCG businesses’ activities in Nigeria and other developing markets.

Companies such as Sygen, which can offer quality, inexpensive medicines to a wide domestic market, continue to have substantial growth opportunities in the healthcare and consumer sectors.

Àrgentil is actively invested in small and medium-sized companies through the Àrgentil Principal Investment Portfolio II (APIP II), which has so far completed five investments.

Investments from APIP II have won award recognition, including the Private Equity Africa 2019 Deal of the Year (Small Cap) award, and many of our investors have had a major positive impact on the existing COVID-19 climate.

Àrgentil is now widening its investment focus to include core West African countries through the US$95m Àrgentil SME Investment Fund (ASIF).

ASIF will invest in core development sectors such as Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Technology and Energy. The initial national priority of ASIF will include Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Àrgentil also makes direct contributions from its balance sheet to fund management teams or to sponsor emerging companies looking to develop networks that can expand over time to adopt key sectors’ development strategies.

Sygen is an indigenous pharmaceutical business that was founded in 2019 to purchase Nigerian German Chemicals’ main operating properties (NGC). NGC remained a well-known brand in Nigeria prior to its takeover, with operations lasting over 50 years.

Sygen manufactures and distributes prescription products under the brand name NGC targeting the segments of Analgesic, Anti-Diabetics, Antifungal, Anti-spasmodic, Cough narcotics and Hematinic medications.

The business also supplies drinks and bottled water. The business runs a warehouse in the state of Ogun, southwestern Nigeria, and eight depots nationwide.

The mission of Sygen is to create a leading pharmaceutical organisation based on the manufacture and delivery of inexpensive, high-quality medicines that are easily available and readily accessible to the economy’s middle and lower-income community.

Global investors are planning to plug Nigeria’s $82 billion health deficit

In Africa’s largest country, the coronavirus pandemic has sharpened the spotlight on a health-care investment deficit and international investors are attempting to fill the gap.

African health-care assets had started to build concern more widely, long before the pandemic. In November 2019, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation joined with the Investment Fund for Health in Africa-II (IFHA-II) to form a $115 million purchase platform for healthcare provider providers in the east and south of the continent.

After the advent of the pandemic, 100 billion naira ($254.6 million) have been released by the Nigerian government in state credit facilities for healthcare, from pharmaceutical firms and suppliers of drugs to service providers, which has evidently sparked greater demand from private investors. A further 50 billion naira is supplied by the Bank of Business, a Nigerian infrastructure finance agency.

“The construction of world-class healthcare facilities across Africa, but particularly in Nigeria, is a very compelling opportunity,” said Hafeez Giwa, managing partner at HC Capital Properties, which has started to invest in health-care assets in Nigeria.

Another potential was outlined by Tosin Runsewe, CEO of healthcare investment company AfyACare Nigeria: mandatory health benefits for federal workers would decrease insurance premiums and the amount of healthcare costs covered could increase to between 20 percent and 30 percent by 2030.

The Knight Frank study emphasised that, as it is, about 72 percent of household health care spending is out-of-pocket, relative to the sub-Saharan average of 35 percent, and just 5 percent of health care is provided by insurance.

Runsewe said, “The cost of this treatment could be met by a health insurance premium of just around 20,000 Naira ($50) per year, half of the current average cost, if we were able to reach a critical mass of 40 million to 60 million Nigerians covered by healthcare.”

“In private primary health centres, there are a number of ways for investors to provide coverage at an affordable cost.”

Due to both “extreme need” and government policies that have made it easier to grow high-quality assets that provide affordable care, Giwa said HC Capital Properties was investing in Nigeria. He indicated that these prospects are actually being pursued by two forms of investors.

Giwa said, “In the one hand, there are local foreign investors and local pension funds who, in the case of Nigeria, are investors in Naira and have no currency risk concerns.” “On the other hand, companies and institutions are intrigued about the possibility of offering high-quality healthcare to Nigerians with lower and middle incomes.”

He believes the pandemic to have led to a “permanent change in thinking” that would bring more emphasis on better health care at home. According to a recent PwC survey, Nigeria currently loses up to $1 billion per year to outbound health tourism among wealthy Nigerians due to insufficient domestic access.