Wednesday 16 August 2023


The Federal Ministry of Education has said the implementation of the Student Loan scheme is expected to start in the 2023/2024 academic session. 

Its Permanent Secretary, David Adejo, announced this at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Students Loans.

 The permanent secretary dismissed speculations that the signing of the Students Loan Act spurred several federal universities across the country to increase their charges.

 He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had directed that necessary works be completed on the modalities for the implementation of the loans scheme to ensure that it starts in earnest next month.

Adejo said the President had set up a coordinating committee with his Chief of Staff as Chairman and other members selected from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Budget Office of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Education, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, among others.

The committee, the permanent secretary said, had also set up a technical committee to put a proper structure in place for the take-off of the scheme as well as remove all impediments in the law that may deny Nigerians access to the loan. 

He said the recent increase in federal universities’ charges was unfortunate.

According to him, no federal university in the country is allowed to collect tuition fees from students.

 “What they collect are charges to cover cost of accommodation, ICT, power, among others. It is the governing councils of the universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.

 “The only university that increased charges after the signing of the Student Loans Act is the University of Lagos (UNILAG). They came to the ministry with a proposal to increase their charges because all governing councils were dissolved, and we gave them approval.

 “Immediately that was done, there was a resolution from the House stopping increase in fees and the President also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees. 

That is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposal,” Adejo said. 

The permanent secretary explained that the charges the institutions collected were expended on some of their services, including electricity bills.

Trying to justify why the universities demand an increase in the charges they collect, Adejo noted that despite collecting the charges, the universities had not been able to meet up with some of their expenses.

He said: “For example, we had to bail out Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, with about N1 billion to pay its electricity bill. The school just resumed academic session because they were in darkness.

 “They were supposed to build theatres and we told them that they could not build the theatre when they are in the dark because they need power to operate.”

 Also, the Director of Legal Services at the Central Bank or Nigeria (CBN), who represented the acting governor of the apex bank, Kofo Salami Alada, said the student loan scheme was being designed to be technology-driven.

The CBN governor said it was being designed to ensure that physical contact and movement of papers would be eliminated.

He added that the students would be expected to apply for the loan from the comfort of their homes.

According to him, while the current law provides for one per cent of internally generated revenue (IGR), the apex bank is working on having an acceptable source, either from the Federation Account or from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

House of Representatives Committee Chairman Teseer Ugbor said the student loan was part of the palliatives the Federal Government was packaging to reduce the suffering of Nigerians and ensure access to higher education by interested citizens.

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