The federal government announced on Wednesday that it has started to put the essential safeguards in place to guarantee that student loans start between September and October 2023.
President Bola Tinubu has approved a committee made up of ministries and agencies to see to the realization of the Students Loan Bill he recently assented to, according to Andrew David Adejo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, who made this revelation while speaking to newsmen in Abuja.
The Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, is the bill’s sponsor. It authorizes interest-free loans for needy Nigerian students.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the bill would make it simple for needy Nigerians to enroll in higher education thanks to interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund.
Adejo 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 application loans, 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 of 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 phantom the process for people to get the loan,” he added.
The Permanent Secretary further said the government will create a specialised bank for the operation of the loans, noting that there will be a tracking system for the efficient running of the loans scheme.
He also said it will cover both students in private and public schools, 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.
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 a job for everybody.”
According to him, as of June 12, only three people have seen the Act, which is the president, the current 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 said.