By Kayode Tokede
The Professor of Capital Market and President, Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, Mr. Uche Uwaleke has commended Access Bank Plc for granting N50bn interest-free loan scheme to businesses affected by the #EndSARS crisis is highly commendable.
He expressed in a statement obtained by Nigerian NewsDirect on Monday that the move is quite exemplary and a demonstration of empathy on the part of the bank.
Access Bank has announced a N50 billion support in form of interest-free loans and grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to support the rebuilding of businesses affected by #EndSARS protests.
Uwaleke urged other banks to borrow a leaf from Access Bank, stressing that it showed great level of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
According to him, “Extending this kind gesture in the form of reduced interest rate and moratorium to those who already borrowed money should equally be considered.
“Much as the CBN has done a lot to cushion the impact of COVID’19 on small businesses, it can equally devise a way to encourage Access bank and others that would eventually emulate this gesture.
“There is no doubt that the implementation of this plan will be at a cost to the bank.
“This cost should be borne by the shareholders ultimately and not the customers by way of higher bank charges. It is the responsibility of the CBN to ensure that deposit money banks, as financial intermediaries, do not give with one hand and take with another.”
The bank disclosed this information via its Twitter handle on Saturday.
The peaceful #EndSARS protests has degenerated into chaos with reports of vandalisation and looting of businesses across the country after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums.
The bank said helping businesses recoup their losses was its ‘responsibility and duty.’
“The events of recent days and weeks have been a difficult period in our country’s history. We have all been anxious, worried, and pained at what we have seen in the media and what we have heard from our customers, our colleagues, and loved ones,” the statement read.
“As one of Nigeria’s largest businesses serving every part of our society, it is our responsibility and duty to make a difference. Corporates cannot simply stand by and send messages of solidarity, and go back to ‘business as usual’ without helping get their customers and communities back on-track.
“Supporting business, large and small, is in our DNA and in recent years we have seen entrepreneurial spirit that filled us with hope and confidence in the future. Our young technology entrepreneurs have been building businesses that are celebrated globally and we have seen SMEs flourish and innovate across the country.
”There has been a setback on this journey and we feel the hurt of our nation. We are committed to restarting businesses quickly but even more importantly to ensure we come out of this stronger and more successful together.”