Access Bank Plc will today commence the disbursement of the N50 billion interest-free loan and grant set aside for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that were destroyed by hoodlums in the wake of the protest against police brutality in the country last week.
The Deputy Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna, in a telephone interview with THISDAY, yesterday, said: “From tomorrow (Monday), we would start collecting application from customers. There is an interest-free loan as well as a grant also embedded in that.”
He stated that the loan would be targeted at customers of the financial institution across its MSME business, commercial banking customers as well as corporate banking customers affected by the looting and arson in some parts of the country last week.
According to him, the idea is to support working capital as well as access finance.
He explained: “It has a maximum tenor of 24 months for the access finance and 12 months for the working capital. The structure is flexible and it is to align with the customers’ cash flow. The term facility would have a moratorium period of six months and then we would structure the repayment following the customers’ own cash flow cycle. Both are interest-free.
“For the grant, we have broken it into two. Firstly is that for youth empowerment and community development. The youth empowerment is in two parts. We have a segment of the grant that is focused on supporting the tech industry and we have another that is focused on skill development, which is for those that are for tailors, barbers, mechanics, criteria.
“The idea is that our branches are all over the country, so whatever skill you have, go to any of our branches and you will get whatever support you require.”
The bank had explained in a notice to announce the fund that: “Now more than ever, we remain committed to our purpose of impacting lives positively. In light of the recent occurrences, we will be supporting Nigerian businesses with N50 billion interest-free loans and grants.”
The creative industry comprising the advertising, architecture, the arts and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software, music, performing arts, publishing, software, television, and radio can bridge the unemployment gap in Nigeria if commercial banks in the country are much more receptive to financing them, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, had said.