First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) has offered to give financial support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in education sector to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Firstbank’s Head of Transaction Banking Products Bankole Adediran made this known at the bank’s SMEConnect webinar themed ‘Managing Your School through the Pandemic: Engagement and Retention Strategies’.
“FirstBank as an institution is very passionate about education and will continue to support the sector,” he said.
He said the bank would continue to reinforce its leading role at enabling the growth of the educational sector in the country.
Adediran said the bank has an array of financial products that could be accessed by SMEs in the educational sector in the period of COVID-19.
He added that SMEs in the sector could key into FirstEdu Loan targeted at private nursery, primary and secondary schools to assist the schools in achieving their desired growth in medium and long terms.
According to him, the product provides funding advancement of up to N20 million for schools with a minimum of 100 students with school fees collection domiciled at FirstBank.
Adediran said that, with the product, school owners/proprietors could stay ahead to make learning easy and conducive for students.
He said the bank had launched various interventions and initiatives to support the sector to navigate through challenges occasioned by COVID-19.
He noted that FirstBank recently launched an e-learning initiative aimed at reaching out to one million students across the country to ensure they would be academically engaged while at home.
Adediran also said that the bank supported 10 universities and three secondary schools across the country with major infrastructure projects.
He added that the bank donated 20,000 e-learning devices to the Lagos State Government to promote online learning for students in the public schools.
Adediran urged schools must learn from the COVID-19 pandemic by embracing automation to plug leakages in the sector.
Lagos State Commissioner for Education Folasade Adefisayo, who was a panelist at the webinar, commended the bank for donating 20,000 devices with six months data subscription to the state for e-learning.
President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) Yomi Otubela said the association had responded greatly by interfacing between government and its agencies since the beginning of the pandemic.
Otubela said the Central Bank of Nigeria was working out modalities for palliatives for schools and teachers who had not been receiving salaries since the pandemic started.