By Dayo Ademola
Access Bank PLC is set to release loans through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) credit support scheme to ramp up the capacity of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
This has become necessary as the country continues to tackle the evolving crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bank is reaffirming a long-held and proven stance on fostering sustainable development across the country.
The loan scheme is part of a six-point palliative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), of which Access Bank is a participating financial institute (PFI). It was developed to provide funding to indigenous pharmaceutical companies and other organizations in the healthcare value chain, enabling them to increase capacity to meet the increasing demand for healthcare arising from the pandemic.
Earlier in the month, Access Bank’s Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe, had reassured the public of the Bank’s commitment to do everything in its power to address the needs of the Nation in these uncertain times.
“It has become clear to all and sundry that Nigeria’s healthcare sector is in dire need of revitalization and Access Bank, under the auspices of the Central Bank of Nigeria, will be investing heavily in this sector in the coming months. We would be looking to grow Nigeria’s capacity to not only manufacture drugs and other medical supplies locally but also encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities that lie within the sector,” Wigwe said
Nigeria’s healthcare product manufacturers, including pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; healthcare service providers/medical facilities – hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centres, laboratories, fitness and wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, dialysis centres, blood banks, et cetera, are eligible to access loans to enhance local drug manufacturing, increased bed count in hospitals across the country, funding of intensive care units as well as training, laboratory testing, equipment, and Research and Development.
The loan’s Interest rate is set at a maximum of five per cent per annum up to 28th February 2021, making it more accessible to a larger percentage of the sector. Thereafter, from 1st March 2021, interest on the facility shall revert to nine per cent per annum (all-inclusive).