Access Bank asssures of deepening financial inclusion

By Chinwendu Obienyi

 

Access Bank has restated that it remains committed to providing access to finance for entrepreneurs in the transportation, agriculture, and health sectors this year.

Its Deputy Managing Director, Chizoma Okoli, stated this whilst announcing the bank’s partnership with Solina Centre for International Development and Research (SCIDaR) in Abuja recently.

Okoli noted that the bank had in 2022, launched a project with the goal of boosting the growth of financial inclusion in Nigeria via a number of initiatives and added that the bank has attained outstanding results so far.

She said, ‚ÄúAs part of our ongoing mandate, we are committed to providing access to finance for entrepreneurs in the transportation, agriculture, and health sectors this year. In line with this commitment, we have collaborated with SCIDaR to drive inclusion specifically within the health space. This partnership emphasizes our unwavering commitment to fostering financial inclusion and sustainable development across Nigeria.‚ÄĚ

Reiterating Chizoma’s comments, Njideka Esomeju, Group Head, Consumer Banking, Access Bank highlighted Access Bank’s dedication to driving inclusion in the health sector stating that the bank stands ready to extend loans to health SMEs, empowering them to expand their businesses and efficiently serve rural communities across Nigeria.

According to her, this strategy not only promotes increased financial stability but also stimulates economic growth in the health industry.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer, SCIDaR, Dr. Uchenna Igbokwe, explained that insufficient funding has strained Nigeria’s health infrastructure, resulting in subpar performance on health metrics.

Igbokwe noted that the partnership with Access Bank is timely as it aligns with the government’s vision for the health sector and has the potential to strengthen health value chains and could contribute its own quota to the country’s GDP.

He elaborated that SCIDaR’s increased focus on access to finance and financial inclusion within the health sector, driven by the significant unmet needs and the pivotal role of finance in achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria.

Outlining SCIDaR’s approach, Igbokwe pointed to research and iterative analysis, product development/adaptation, smart subsidies, financial literacy, technology integration, and sustainable partnerships as pillars that are aligned with sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 17, accelerating progress towards universal health coverage and economic development in Nigeria.

This collaboration, anchored by the Promoting Accreditation for Community Health Services (PACS) project, aims to bolster the supply chain, enhance productivity, and fortify the economic resilience of SMEs within the health sector, particularly Community Pharmacists (CPs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) across Nigeria.

Through this collaboration, Access Bank and SCIDaR will address the challenges associated with lending to healthcare SMEs, leveraging Access Bank’s tailored financial products and services to enhance their expansion. Among these offerings are products designed to cater to the credit requirements of health SMEs, while the Access Closa product empowers health SMEs to act as bank agents in underserved communities, thereby increasing their income and financial resilience.

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