The Nigerian Government Initiates Efforts to Implement Student Loans by September-October 2023

The Nigerian federal government has taken significant strides in ensuring the timely commencement of the student loan program between September and October 2023. Andrew David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, disclosed this during a press briefing held in Abuja. He revealed that President Bola Tinubu had already given his approval for the establishment of a committee comprising various ministries and agencies responsible for realizing the objectives of the recently enacted Students Loan Bill.

The Students Loan Bill, championed by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, aims to provide interest-free loans to financially disadvantaged Nigerian students. Through the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, the law aims to facilitate accessible higher education opportunities for underprivileged individuals.

Adejo emphasized, “The bill aims to ensure that every Nigerian has access to higher education through the creation of the Higher Education Nigerian Bank. Learning from past experiences, this bank will not solely focus on loan collection, but will also perform regular banking functions, ensuring efficient loan disbursement. The Act outlines the process, and I can confirm that the President has approved the committee composed of ministries and agencies, with their inaugural meeting scheduled for the 20th of June.”

He added, “The President has directed that by the 2023/2024 academic session, which commences in September-October, loan recipients should be visible. This is a significant undertaking, and we must swiftly finalize the necessary processes to enable individuals to access these loans.”

The Permanent Secretary further highlighted that a specialized bank would be established to handle the operations of the loan program. A robust tracking system will also be implemented to ensure the efficient administration of the scheme. The loans will be available to students in both private and public schools, necessitating the creation of a new bank exclusively for this purpose.

Adejo emphasized, “We will establish a dedicated bank for this initiative, as we cannot rely on existing banks. We want to ensure that it benefits not only those attending public schools, but also those in private institutions who pay tuition fees. The loan is intended to support individuals in pursuing educational programs and securing employment before commencing loan repayment. Loan recovery will only begin once beneficiaries have secured employment.”

He commended President Tinubu for his role as a job creator and stated, “Our current president has a background in the private sector, where he demonstrated his ability to generate employment opportunities. Job creation remains one of his key priorities, although it is not possible to create jobs for everyone.”

As of June 12, only three individuals, including the President, the Chief of Staff, and Adejo himself, have had access to the full Act. Adejo clarified, “What you have seen thus far is the bill. The President has assented to the bill, but we must wait for the Act to be transmitted to the Ministry of Justice for the production of the official gazette.”

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