The Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) has appealed to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the loan conditions of its financial intervention to health sector.
Its Chairman, Lagos State, Dr Tunji Akintade, made the plea on Saturday in Lagos, saying that the loan conditions were stringent.
The AGPMPN is the umbrella organisation for all medical and dental doctors in private practice, either as owners or employees.
Akintade, however, lauded CBN for its intervention in the health sector, noting that after perusing conditions of the loan, it showed that it does not favour healthcare practitioners, except for manufacturers.
The CBN had introduced a N100 billion credit support intervention for the health sector as part of the measures to mitigate effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
CBN said that the scheme would be funded from the Real Sector Support Facility– Differentiated Cash Reserves Requirement (RSSF-DCRR).
Akintade: “The condition of the loan is that you will be given 20 per cent of your annual turnover, which means, if your turnover is N20 million, you would get N4 million.
“For crying out loud, if you are making turnover of N20 million, why will you go and get a loan of N4 million. They also gave a one year moratorium which ends on Feb. 28, 2021.
“If you apply now, it might take over one month for loan application and disbursement, which leaves little time to the moratorium deadline.
“It said that interest rate of the loan will initially be five per cent, but reviewed upward to nine per cent from March 2021.
“That means they are giving with the right hand, and invariably taking it back with the left hand.”
The association chairman noted that the purpose of the loan was supposed to be a stimulus for the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the intent might not be achieved.
According to him, various analyses have shown that there is going to be an economic recession, which will impact the purchasing power of people, thus making it low.
Akintade maintained that to achieve better outcomes and impact from the fund, it should be structured toward specific intervention.
“This would address notable challenges in the health sector, such as infrastructure, maternal and infant rate reduction.
“Others are: drugs procurement, drugs production, systems development, information technology development and meeting with the leaders in all states to form a think-tank and available tools to measure the loan,” Akintade said.
He also stressed the importance of dialogue between the apex bank and leaders of various healthcare professionals to know areas to target the fund.
Akintade added that to spur growth of the sector, CBN should consider emulating countries like India and China that provided grants for their health sector.