The federal government has announced that it has initiated the necessary preparations to ensure the commencement of the student loan program between September and October of this year.
This was revealed in a press conference held in Abuja today, by the the Permanent Secretary, Andrew David Adejo, of the Federal Ministry of Education,who disclosed that a committee composed of ministries and agencies, as approved by President Bola Tinubu, has been established to oversee the implementation of the recently signed Student Loan Bill.
Adulawonews report that this development comes just a week after President Tinubu fulfilled his campaign promise by signing the Student Loan Bill into law. The bill, which was sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, aims to provide interest-free loans to financially disadvantaged Nigerian students. The law is designed to facilitate accessible higher education through the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, as confirmed by the Permanent Secretary.
Adejo emphasized, “The purpose of this bill is to ensure that every Nigerian has access to higher education through what we call the Higher Education Nigerian Bank. Taking into account past challenges, this bank will not only process loan applications but will also operate as a regular bank to ensure the smooth disbursement of loans. The Act outlines the procedures, and as of today, the President has approved the committee composed of ministries and agencies, with their first meeting scheduled for June 20.”
He further revealed that President Tinubu has directed the committee to ensure that loan recipients begin to benefit from the program during the 2023/2024 academic session, starting from September to October. Adejo emphasized the significance of this milestone and the urgency with which the committee will work to streamline the loan application process.
In addition, the Permanent Secretary stated that the government intends to establish a specialized bank exclusively dedicated to managing the loan program. He highlighted the importance of having a tracking system in place to ensure the effective administration of the scheme. The loan program will cater to students in both private and public schools, and a new bank will be created to accommodate the unique requirements of this initiative.
“We will establish a new bank specifically for this purpose, rather than utilizing existing banks. We want to ensure that students in private schools also have the opportunity to benefit from this program, as they bear the burden of tuition fees. The loan is intended to support individuals in pursuing their educational aspirations and repaying the loan will commence only after they secure employment,” Adejo explained.
Expressing his appreciation for President Tinubu’s commitment to job creation, the Permanent Secretary remarked, “Our current President is a renowned job creator, drawing from his private sector experience. He has provided us with a policy direction, and job creation is one of his key priorities, although it is important to note that job creation cannot cater to everyone.”
As of June 12, only three individuals have had access to the Act, namely the President, the current Chief of Staff, and the Permanent Secretary himself. Adejo clarified that while the public has seen the bill, the Act will become available once it is transmitted to the Ministry of Justice for gazetting.