First National Bank Ghana has launched ASPIRE (Accelerated Support for Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort) to assist the government and its stakeholders in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASPIRE is a rapid response fund to address the critical and immediate health care needs in Ghana. Richard Hudson, CEO of First National Bank Ghana, explains that ASPIRE will help increase COVID-19 critical test and trace capacity with a focus on supporting local medical innovators and entrepreneurs. “Through ASPIRE we are collaborating with these proven local innovators to provide the needed apparatus for testing availability, ventilators, and front-line protective cover,” commented Hudson.
The initiative is Ghana’s version of the special initiative rolled out by First National Bank’s parent company, the FirstRand Group in South Africa – SPIRE (South African Pandemic Intervention and Relief Effort).
With GHS200,000 ASPIRE anchor funding, First National Bank Ghana will procure test kits with support from the FirstRand Group for delivery to primary treatment centres. The fund will also support the setup of a 6-month insurance package for selected staff at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, and fund the production of home-made handwashing machines and ventilators.
“This is just the beginning of what we believe we can do to help combat the impact of COVID-19. Supporting the healthcare system is where it matters most, and the ASPIRE fund has been launched to help curtail the spread of the pandemic across the country.”, says Delali Dzidzienyo, Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at First National Bank Ghana.
Before the launch of ASPIRE, First National Bank Ghana launched relief packages to help both individual and corporate customers against the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the #RealHelp initiative, the bank offered at least a 2% interest rate cut on loans to all existing customers from 1 April 2020 for the tenor of all Ghana-cedi denominated loan facilities. Customers have also been given an option to apply for repayment holidays, where a temporary moratorium will be placed on the loan repayments for up to six months.
These initiatives aim to give customers some leeway to reorganize their finances which may have been negatively affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
These relief offers can be applied for on the First National Bank app or by using the Quick Code *877# to apply through Cellphone banking.