The Federal Government has said it was working out modalities to start giving students loans between September and October 2023.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, disclosed this on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at a press briefing in Abuja.
President Tinubu on Monday signed into law the Student Loan Bill in fulfillment of a promise he made during his campaign.
The student loan bill sponsored by the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, provides interest-free loans to indigent Nigerian students.
Adejo hinted that the law would provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund. The loan, he clarified, covers both students in private and public schools.
He added that President Tinubu had also approved a committee made up of ministries and agencies to see to the fruition of the loan scheme.
According to him, the bill was to make sure that every Nigerian had access to higher education through 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 on June 20.
“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 said.
The Permanent Secretary also said the government would create a specialised bank for the operation of the loans, noting that there would be a tracking system for the efficient smooth running of the loans scheme.
He explained that this would cover both students in private and public schools, adding that the government would also 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 so that only people who want to go to public schools will benefit from it, 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.
“Our current president today is a job creator from his experience in 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”, Adejo said.