FG announces month for commencement of student loan disbursement
The Federal Government has said that it was working out modalities to commence student loans in September/October 2023.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew David Adejo, disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday while addressing journalists on the Bill signed into law by President Bola Tinubu few days ago.
President Tinubu had assented the Student Loan Bill in fulfilment of a promise he made during the electioneering campaign.
The Student Loan Bill sponsored by the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, provides for interest-free loans to indigent Nigerian students.
The law is to provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, the Permanent Secretary said.
Adejo noted that president Tinubu has also approved a committee made up of Ministries and Agencies to see to the fruition of the loan scheme.
He said, “The Bill is to make sure that every Nigerian has access to higher education through what we called the Higher Education Nigerian Bank.
“Learning from past mistakes, the bank is not going to be the type that will sit down and be collecting loan applications, it will also perform normal banking functions and make sure loans are given because we had cases of loan recovery in the past.
“The Act, as it is, tells us the process, but as I speak with you today, the President has approved the committee made up of the Ministries and agencies and their meeting will be coming up 20th of June.
“The President has also directed that by September to October this 2023/2024 academic session, he wants to see recipients of these loans. So it is a very serious march for us. So, between now and then we have to figure out the process for people to get the loan,” he added.
The Permanent Secretary further said government will create a specialised bank for the operation of the loans, noting that there will be a tracking system for efficient run of the loan scheme.
He also said it will cover both students in private and public institutions, adding that the government will create a new bank for it.
“We are not going to use existing banks. We are going to create a new bank that will address this because we can’t use an existing bank.
“We don’t want to make it that only people who want to go to public schools will benefit from, private schools are paying tuition, so you have to give them the opportunity
“The loan is for you to get an education programme and get employed, then you start paying back. The loan recovery does not start until you get employed,” he added.
While commending President Tinubu as a job creator, he said: “Our current president today is a job creator from his experience from the private sector and he has given us policy direction and job creation is one of the things he is going to do, even though you cannot create job for everybody.”
According to him, as at June 12, only three people have seen the Act, which were the President, his Chief of Staff and himself.
“What you have seen is the Bill. The President has assented to the Bill, let us wait to see the Act and you get the Act when it is transmitted to the Ministry of Justice to produce a gazette,” he stated.