President Tinubu Transmits Students Loan Bill 2024 To House Of Reps For Enactment

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has formally written to the House of Representatives, urging the repeal of the Students Loans Act 2023 and the introduction of the Students Loan Bill 2024. The Speaker of the House, Abbas Tajudeen, disclosed this during Thursday’s plenary session while reading the president’s letter.

In his correspondence, the president elucidated that the call for the repeal of the existing Students Loans Act and the subsequent enactment of a new one stem from the need to address certain inadequacies within the previous legislation. Tinubu emphasized that the proposed changes aim to bolster the implementation of the students loan scheme under his administration.

Notably, in June 2023, President Tinubu proposed a bill to establish a Students Loan Fund, designed to provide interest-free loans to Nigerian citizens pursuing higher education. He had previously pledged that the scheme would commence operations from January 2024. However, the initiative has faced delays, prompting scrutiny and critique.

On a related note, Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), disclosed on Wednesday that the delay in implementing the bill resulted from certain concerns raised by the National Assembly. These deliberations have spotlighted various aspects of the Students Loans scheme, including eligibility criteria, funding mechanisms, and procedures for disbursement and repayment.

Given the ongoing discourse among stakeholders, questions have been raised regarding the efficacy and feasibility of the Students Loans program. Concerns have particularly centered around the clarity of eligibility requirements, the sustainability of funding sources, and the transparency of disbursement and repayment protocols. As discussions continue, the proposed repeal and enactment represent pivotal steps in addressing these challenges and advancing the objectives of the students loan scheme.

The letter reads, “Pursuant to Section 58(2) of the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). I forward, herewith, The Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024 for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.

“The Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re- Enactment) Bill, 2024 seeks to enhance the implementation of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme by addressing challenges related to the management structure of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELF), applicant eligibility requirements, loan purpose, funding sources and disbursement and repayment procedures.”

“Whilst hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the House of Representatives, please accept, Rt. Honourable Speaker, the assurances of my highest consideration.”