Diamond Bank Partners With USAID To Lend $8.3m To Nigerian Healthcare EntrepreneursDiamond Bank, one of the leading banks in Nigeria has in line with its tradition of playing a leading role in engineering the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses in the country, has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase lending to entrepreneurs who face difficulties in accessing credit in Nigeria. The new product, tagged “Diamond MediLoan” with a portfolio of disbursable loan worth $8.3m ( N1.245 billion) to entrepreneurs providing health care services in Nigeria has been described by analysts as a major boost in the quest for a better health care delivery in the country.Speaking at the unveiling ceremony held in Lagos, the Head Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank Charles Udoh, stated that the product is a channel for lending to micro, small and medium scale enterprises operating in the health sector in Nigeria, particularly those involved in family planning, reproductive health, maternal and child health services. “The Diamond MediLoan”, he said, “will be a special financing scheme for the private health care providers in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under our existing MSME Installment loan product effective immediately until March 30th 2017,” he stated. He said that expanding lending to micro, small and medium enterprises is an important part of Diamond Bank’s growth strategy and it is a key driver of the Bank’s retail banking initiative. “Also partnering with USAID will enable the Bank to better reach businesses in these categories, which contribute substantially to Nigeria’s health care delivery and the economy in general,” he said Mr. Udoh stated that the scheme is targeted at 1000% Nigerian-owned MSME businesses in the Health Care sector that provide Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Maternal or Child Health services (FP/RH/MCH). These includes private hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies, patent medical stores, diagnostic laboratories, medical training schools and pharmaceutical distributors of FP/RH/MCH products, and their affiliates, including parent or subsidiary companies of such businesses. “The scheme is specifically for financing the purchase of brand new fixed assets (such as delivery vans, wheel chairs, hospital beds, microscopes, X Ray machines, incubators, ultra-sound scanning machines, ambulances, e.t.c.) as well as, other related activities such as expansion/renovation/extension of existing business premises/office, furniture and fittings, and expenses associated with expansion including salaries of new staff incidental to purchase of such fixed assets. However, Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, as well as financing of Inventory, Patents and Rent expenses are specifically excluded,” he stated. He further stated that part of the benefits to customers would include discounted interest rates starting from as low as 16% p.a., extended tenure of up to 48months and up to 60days moratorium, adding that the moratorium period would only apply where installation of equipment and completion of any training requirements would be required after the purchase of fixed assets. Diamond Bank had similarly partnered with the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) in the set up of loan product specifically directed at MSMEs in Nigeria. at present, Diamond Bank has lent the sum of N12billion to 3,400 MSMEs nationwide, as at the end of December 2010. In addition, Diamond Bank partnered with who provided the Bank with Shell Petroleum Development Company and GroFin of South Africa to float a $30m fund branded ASPIRE NIGERIA to serve as a catalyst for the development and growth of Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The fund is expected to enhance the operations of indigenous small and medium enterprises through the provision of much needed business development assistance and appropriate finance. The fund demonstrated the interests of the partners in contributing to the development of SMEs as a means of enhancing wealth creation in the economy .
This article was originally posted on Nigeria Business Communities