Three percent of the country’s annual earnings should go into student loans, according to a proposal made by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on students loan funds and access to higher education.
In order to assess the level of progress made by the presidential committee established to remove all barriers preventing access to the loan, Terseer Ugboh, the committee’s chairman, revealed the committee’s proposal during a public hearing in Abuja.
Ugboh assured the Federal Ministry of Education and the Implementation Committee that lawmakers would be ready to help the programme launch smoothly.
“We hope the system you are creating will be robust enough to take account of students who are already in school, who want the loan to cover for the one year or two years of their schooling or students who are coming through direct entry.
“It seems to us from this perspective that one per cent of the Federal Government revenue as stated in the Act would not be enough to cover students loan 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.
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“I want to suggest that there is a need to increase the requirement from one per cent to three per cent (of government’s revenue). It is quite critical.
“Now we are hearing that the states or local governments may or may not permit that deduction, so, I think there may be a constitutional amendment before that one per cent may be drawn. So, if that is not done, the Federal Government can only draw from its own share of revenue which means state universities may be excluded if the state governments do not agree to participate in funding this student loan from their allocation from the Federal Government,” he said.
President Bola Tinubu in June 2023 signed into law a bill that provides interest-free education loans for Nigerians willing to acquire tertiary education.
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.
The bill, first introduced in 2016 by Femi Gbajabiamila, the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, was reintroduced in 2019 and received more attention from the National Assembly in November 2022. It was barely a month after the end of an eight-month-long industrial action by the nation’s university workers’ union who had protested poor working conditions, among other demands.
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