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Students loan: Reps panel wants funding increased to 3%

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the Students Loan Fund and Access to Higher Education has proposed an amendment to the students’ loan Act…

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the Students Loan Fund and Access to Higher Education has proposed an amendment to the students’ loan Act to increase funding accessible to Nigerians willing to acquire tertiary education.

The chairman of the committee, Tersee Ugboh made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting Tuesday in Abuja.

The Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, otherwise known as students loan Act, establishes an Education Loan Fund to help Nigerians fund their higher education, while they pay in instalments two years after completing their participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.

Its sources of funding as dictated by the Act include; one per cent of all profits accruing to the federal government from oil and other minerals; one per cent of taxes, levies and duties accruing to the federal government from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); education bonds and education endowment fund schemes.

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Speaking during the meeting, Ugboh proposed an amendment to the Act to increase the funding to 3% as against the initial 1% of the total federal government annually generated revenue.

He said, “It seems to us from this perspective that 1% of the federal government revenue as stated in the act would not be enough to cover students’ loans for a year given the hundreds of thousands of students that we have, getting admission every year and those who are currently in school, who may wish to also apply for a loan to cover for other years of their schooling.”

“I want to suggest that there is the need to increase the fund from 1% to 3%.”

He said the lawmakers were ready to provide genuine intervention for the speedy take-off of the scheme.

Ugbor and other members of the committee, however, expressed displeasure over the slow pace of work of the technical committee on the implementation of the student loan programme.

The Director, Legal Services, CBN, Kofo Alada, said a supplementary budget was needed to make funds available for the take-off of the scheme.

 

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