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Tinubu orders take-off of Student Loan Scheme September 2023

June 14, 2023

President Ahmed Bola Tinubu has approved the constitution of an inter-ministerial committee to ensure the seamless take-off of the Student Loan Scheme in the September/October 2023/2024 academic session.

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Andrew Adejo, made this known at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja. He disclosed that the President directed the Committee to ensure that the first batch of eligible students could access their loans in September.

Adejo clarified that the briefing was necessary due to media inquiries seeking clarification on issues. surrounding the student loan scheme.

He dispelled the insinuation that the Federal Government planned to introduce tuition fees in tertiary institutions because of the new law. He explained that the Government had been working on granting financial autonomy to universities prior to this development.

Adejo also revealed that the Gazetted Act would be made public once it is transmitted from the Federal Ministry of Justice.

He emphasized that the Nigerian government could no longer solely fund tertiary education, necessitating the need for cost-sharing.

He added that over the years, the Nigerian government had aimed to provide an opportunity for every Nigerian child to receive education and live a life of dignity.
He recalled the defunct Student Loan Board and Nigeria Education Bank, which became defunct due to issues such as leakages, non-payment of loans, and instances where loans did not reach their intended recipients.

Under the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the then Education Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu, instructed the Ministry to develop a scheme that would ensure no Nigerian was denied education due to lack of funds.

During that period, the Federal House of Representatives, under the leadership of Femi Gbajabiamila, who is now the Chief of Staff to the President, sponsored a bill for the establishment of the Student Loan Fund.

Adejo stated, “The bill is aimed at ensuring that every Nigerian has access to higher education through what we call the Higher Education Nigerian Bank.”

Learning from past mistakes, the bank will not solely collect loan applications but will also perform normal banking functions. The Act outlines the process, but the President has approved the committee composed of Ministries and agencies, which will hold its inaugural meeting on June 20.

The President has also directed that recipients of these loans should be identified by the 2023/2024 academic session, which commences in September or October. This is a serious mandate, and we need to fine-tune the process for loan disbursement.

A tracking system will be implemented, and all applications will be submitted through the individual applicant’s school before being processed by the specialized bank to be created.

In the past, the loan scheme was perceived as a government handout, resulting in a higher rate of default. This time, applicants will initiate the process from their schools.

Adejo assured Nigerians that the loan scheme would not be politicized, as the Federal Government has made efforts to minimize influence.

He also confirmed that the loan facility would cover students in both private and public schools.

“We will not utilize existing banks for this purpose. We will create a new bank to address this, as we cannot use an existing bank.”

“We do not want the loan to benefit only those attending public schools. Private schools charge tuition fees, so they should also have the opportunity to access the loan.”

“The loan is intended to support your education and employment. Loan repayment does not begin until after you secure employment.”

Adejo commended President Tinubu as a job creator, noting his experience in the private sector. He stated that job creation is one of the President’s policy priorities, although it is not possible to create jobs for everyone.

(Nigerian Tribune)

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