By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A partnership has been signed by Heritage Bank Plc with AFRICANMED and the Chinese community in Nigeria. The deal aims at developing the country’s health sector and bringing down the rate of medical tourism by Nigerians.
MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, who disclosed this at the maiden edition AFRICANMED exhibition of top brands of medical equipment from China in Lagos recently, said there was an urgent need to reduce the huge foreign exchange which Nigerians spend every year on medical tourism.
He explained that Heritage Bank would find it easy to provide finance for interested buyers of the medical equipment from China because it already has a robust correspondent banking relationship with Deutsche Bank of China and Access Bank of China. The relationship, he said, would enable Heritage Bank to seamlessly open letters of credit for interested buyers.
Mr Olugbenga Awe, Group Head, Agric and Export, Heritage Bank, who represented Mr Sekibo, said since some of the equipment cost millions of dollars, the bank would not expect the buyers to tie down such heavy amount of money, adding that the bank will support interested buyers with robust loans that will enable them to acquire the equipment and pay back over a period of two years.
“We are willing and ready to support with funding as far as this equipment are concerned,” he said, adding that the bank is working with AFRICANMED to develop a bespoke solution that will enable prospective buyers to buy the products while the bank pays on their behalf.
He said the recent $2.5 billion currency swap deal between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Chinese central bank would help as the bank would have enough funding through that arrangement to meet the needs of interested buyers.
AFRICANMED was recently set up in Nigeria to congregate top brands of Chinese medical equipment and healthcare solutions provider companies focusing on the “Selection of Intelligently made-in-China products, to serve the African people.”
Based on big data of medical supply chain, the company will provide comprehensive online and offline service platforms for all kinds of African medical institutions, hospitals, specialist care, small and medium-sized distributor financing, procurement and inventory using Nigeria as the hub of its operation on the African continent.
Also speaking, Group Chief Executive Officer of AFRICAMED, Mrs Rainy Liu, said the maiden edition of the exhibition, which was like a launch, was organised to create awareness about the company among Nigerians. She said there is a need for Nigerians to know that the company has come to offer the best medical equipment and healthcare solutions from China to Nigeria and the rest of the African continent at affordable cost.
Mrs Liu said the objective is to make healthcare solutions accessible and affordable to the masses in Nigeria and other African countries, remarking that besides Nigeria, the company has offices in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.
She said there are professional teams in China that specialize in quality control through detailed screening in order to ensure that customers purchase the best cost-effective products.
“The teams also have stringent supplier selection and evaluation system to ensure that the medical products represent the most advanced technology and the best quality in China
“Besides this, they have signed strategic cooperation agreements with more than 50 well-known brand manufacturers and most of them are listed companies, such as Mindray, Neusoft, WDM, Aeno, Yuwell, Lifetech, David DIRUI, WEGO, Winner, SonoScape and EDAN, among others, to avoid your being confined to the substandard No Name brands that swarm into Chinese open market.”
The Group CEO said the company has the most dedicated sales teams in Africa to provide pre-sales, on-sales, and after-sales consultancy, which would help to reduce transaction processes and costs of medical equipment, thereby making medical equipment procurement easier.
She said in response to the high demand for repetitiveness and taking the wishes of customers into consideration, the company would formulate centralized container purchasing and periodic inventory replenishment system so that buyers could truly enter the era of digital management of medical equipment procurement.
The company also has online professional after-sales teams with a nationwide target of more than 100 engineers allocated in different states and cities so that customers could get quick professional services after they click on the service requests.
The company’s online platform will be available for use by medical outfits to register on and open their online shop to post their inventory information and trade online.
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