Firm maps out strategies to curtail high cost of goods, services.

A variety of strategies have been put in place to curtail the effects of rising cost of goods and services, to enable Nigerians access quality and affordable healthcare in the country.

The Chairman, Healthcare International Limited (HCL), Olayinka Omilani, disclosed this at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently in Lagos. The strategies include appropriate products pricing in relation to market competition; introduction of customised premium plans to meet the needs of a wider spectrum of Nigerians; and creation of a network of preferred providers to ensure efficient service delivery vis-à-vis cost management.

He blamed the unfavourable economic condition coupled with inconsistent foreign exchange management policies resulting in the devaluation of the Naira for the rise in price of not only imported items, but other essential goods and services across Nigeria.

According to him, “Political instability in some parts of the country as well as the huge attention given to the anti-corruption war tended to divert the focus of the Federal Government from economic activities that are expected to boost the national income, and consequently the welfare of the citizenry.”

While reviewing the company’s performance based on the financial statements and reports for the year, Omilani explained that some key events shaped the outcome within the operating environment and the impact on the performance.

He said: “in spite of the difficult business environment, HCL achieved a modest growth of 13 per cent in its gross premium income over that of 2015, which was made possible by various marketing services and products offered by the company to its clients and prospects.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, these gains were wiped out by a considerable increase in fee-for-service payments to hospitals caused by the high costs of administration and tariffs. Consequently, profit before tax dropped by 51 per cent when compared with the figure in 2015.”

Omilani however assured shareholders that with the measures being put in place by the management, there is hope of improvement in the fortunes of the company in the coming years.

In his remark, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, HCL, Tosin Awosika, said the company, in terms of policy, has reviewed its focus after realising that the overwhelming majority of prospects for enrolment and services rendered are outside the corporate sector.

“Therefore, in order to meet up, we have put up structures capable of re-engineering our processes, and moving our operations closer to the direction of the retail market. We are gradually changing our focus from the regular corporate market and better customer service – paying more attention to customers, and adding value to the premium they pay,” he concluded.