James Emejo in Abuja
Access Bank Plc has disclosed that it has provided over N1 billion towards financing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the health sector.
The bank’s Executive Director, Mr. Victor Etuokwu, Access Bank remains committed to enhancing the well-being of its customers in recognition of its role as one of the drivers of national economy.
Speaking at a business workshop for health practitioners in Abuja, which was organised by the bank in partnership with Medical Credit Fund and JNCI recently, the bank ED stressed that the financial institution has a role to play in supporting growth of the economy through the empowerment of customers by enabling access to finance, capacity development and mentorship.
He said the training session was specifically aimed at SMEs in the health sector to commemorate the World Health Day which is marked annually on April 7.
Further justifying the bank’s intervention in the health sector, Etuokwu said: “The health sector guarantees that people are able to even do business, so it is a sector that tends to well-being. And anything that tends and drives the well-being of human beings will do well.
“As you know, even health is the most critical element of your well-being- if you are not healthy, you can’t do anything. So, any sector that drives healthy conditions, supports you to be well is where everybody will gravitate to.
“It is a sector that we need to finance a lot more, it needs to be a lot more structured, we need to have a little more health professionals in the country.
“If you look at the ratio of health workers to population it is very low…Effective demand for health, the ability to pay for health services is quite low in the country so we need to urge government to invest a lot more in health insurance. Health insurance drives the health sector. So, as that happens, you will see that there will be lots of caregivers in the country.”
He said though the bank lends to good borrowers, attendance at the workshop could enhance participants’ chances of accessing credit from the bank as they would have benefitted from the knowledge sharing sessions.
He also said the bank hoped to have new converts at the end of the programme.
“We are having today a business workshop for people in the health sector, particularly the drug and pharmacy sub-sector. We have brought our partners to talk to them about several things that can improve the quality of their business.