Stakeholders urge implementation of Equipment Leasing Act
…As Medic West Africa holds exhibition and congress
In a bid to meet the ever increasing financial requirements of the health care industry in the face of the recent harsh economic conditions, health practitioners have unanimously called for the full implementation of the Equipment Leasing Act, as a way forward.
The practitioners, under the aegis of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), in collaboration with the organisers of Medic West Africa Exhibition and Congress, converged at the Eko Hotel and Suites to chart the course of their profession and proffer solutions to present challenges.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the conference, which had the theme, “Equipment leasing as an innovative healthcare financial channel”, President of the Health care Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN), Dr Umar O. Sandra, queried the resistance among practitioners to equipment leasing, adding that it was an innovative way of accessing funds.
Dr Sandra further noted that equipment leasing was good for health care providers if they could negotiate directly with the manufacturers, noting that lease interest is fixed.
Another member of the panel, Voke Oshevire, executive director of JNC Intl, said it was high time leasing took effect in the health care system, stressing that financial houses should be given incentives to go into leasing in order to boost the production output of those in the industry.
Mrs Oghogho Olakunrin in her own contribution noted that the full implementation of equipment leasing could not be successful in the hands of government officials alone, as there was a serious need for the private sector to partner with the public sector in order to enjoy the massive benefits of leasing.
Delivering the paper titled, “The Equipment Leasing Act: opportunities and challenges in Nigeria”, Andrew Efurhievwe, described equipment leasing as a creative financing alternative, which is an imposing industry in terms of scope, size and potential.
Retracing the history of leasing in the country, he said it started in the1960s and had continued to play a significant role in equipping Nigeria.
Efurhievwe defined leasing as “a contract between a lessor and lessee, giving the lessee possession and use of a specific asset on payment of rentals over a period. The lessor retains ownership of the asset so that it never becomes the property of the lessee or any other related third party during the tenor of the lease”.
Highlighting the types of leasing to include Finance Lease and Operating Lease, he enumerated reasons for leasing, including: Technological challenge; fixed rate financing; cash management; ownership not available or feasible; flexibility and convenience; non collaterised financing; less restrictive form of financing; and economics of scale in lessor purchasing and servicing.
He further outlined the processes involved in leasing thus: Request for the asset through application; get the price, specifications of the asset and Proforma Invoice from the dealer; state how long you want the lease to last; information about the vendor and the equipment; information about you and your business and purpose of the lease; offer letter and execution of lease agreement; placement of order; payment of supplier; delivery of asset to the lessor; delivery to the lessee; and start making payment as and when due.
However, a Health Ethics and Law consultant, Dr Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, expressed dissatisfaction with some grey arrears of the Leasing Act, saying there was need for proper review of the Act for effective enforcement.