By Peter Egwuatu
Following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the #EndSARS protests that led to the looting and destruction of businesses, an economy expert has called on banks to initiate interest free loan.
This is coming as Access Bank Plc announce N50 billion interest-free loans and grants to support communities, the youths, and micro, small and medium-sized businesses. This was disclosed by the bank through its official LinkedIn page.
According to the bank; “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 50 Billion Naira interest-free loans and grants. Watch this space for more information.”
Reacting to this development, Uche Uwaleke, a financial economist and Professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University said: “The N50billion interest-free loan scheme of Access Bank for businesses affected by the #EndSARS crisis is highly commendable. The move is quite exemplary and a demonstration of empathy on the part of the bank.
“Other banks should borrow a leaf from this great show of corporate social responsibility. 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.”