By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said the partnership between Nigeria and Ankara, Turkey had the prospects of creating over one million jobs in the healthcare and infrastructure delivery system.
Dr Sijuade Kayode, Vice-President, Commerce of ACCI, said this on Friday when some team members of Turquaz Health, a health tourism organisation and Ankara Commerce Industry visited ACCI on the quest for possible collaboration.
The Turquaz health group is interested in bridging the gap in healthcare services between the two countries and offers a wide range of healthcare solutions.
Kayode recalled that Turkey’s and Nigeria’s relationship dated back to the 1970’s and it would provide the opportunity to reap more benefits.
He said that they were wooing their partners to collaborate with the country in defence, healthcare, education and infrastructure, among other areas.
Kayode said: “Government provides the policy, the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
“We are looking at investments in the health, education, infrastructure, which are key to creating jobs and boosting the economy.
“The partnership, investments will create about one million jobs; in the infrastructure sector alone, 500,000 jobs can be created in a year.
“In the education sector, you can create a million jobs from this, all we need government to do is to provide the enabling environment, policies, funding that will cause private sector to thrive.’’
According to him, government can only create ten per cent of jobs needed in the society.
Kayode added that the ACCI team would be in Turkey in October to consolidate on the discussions and further actions.
Mr Naci Tamer, Vice Chief Executive Officer of Turquaz Health, said they were interested in promoting health tourism, as well as collaborate to provide expertise in healthcare capacity and healthcare consulting services.
He said: “Cooperation between ACCI can significantly enhance economic ties between countries by creating a conducive environment for business to explore opportunities and engage in mutually beneficial ventures.
“These areas can serve as a foundation for building stronger relations between Ankara, Turkey and Abuja, Nigeria.”
Tamer listed other possible areas of collaboration to include; energy and infrastructure, ICT and innovation, cultural exchange, SME development and sustainable development.
Mrs Victoria Akai, Director-General of ACCI, said instead of promoting medical tourism, it would be profitable to develop expertise locally to reduce capital flight.
“Nigerians keep leaving this country on medical tourism, there is a lot of profit in healthcare in Nigeria from the perspective of the business community and that is capital flight.
“This motivated us to connect with the Turkish and see how we can improve our medical healthcare and leave the money in Nigeria.
“We are looking at partnerships and hopefully investments because we have big hospitals here that can deliver with the right tools,’’ she said.
Akai added that the exodus of medical practitioners was a concern, hence they were also looking for ways to bring in experts that could pay well and retain the country’s health workers locally.
According to her, medical tourism is a very big industry in Nigeria,whereas Nigerians travel out to treat common health ailments.
“We are looking at partnering to develop health infrastructure, retaining the money in Nigeria in a shared prosperity manner with Turkey,’’ Akai said.
Dr Kolawole Owoka, Chairman of Medical and Trade Industry Group in ACCI, said Nigeria was a large country with vibrant people that just needed infrastructure and the enabling environment.
Owoka further said they would want to reverse the trend of medical tourism, adding that they had alternatively requested for investments from Turkey into Nigeria to boost the healthcare system.
Highlight of the event was the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between ACCI and the Turkish health team, alongside Ankara Commerce Industry. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani