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Students Loans Act: University don proposes independent body

by Nike
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The federal government has been called upon to amend the current Students Loans Act by appointing an independent Chairman and Secretary instead of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor as required by the Act.

The call was made this week by a university don, Professor Apedzan Emmanuel Kighir of the Federal University, Dutsinma, Katsina state, in a memorandum he presented to the House of Reps Ad-hoc Committee on Students Loans, in Abuja.

Recall that on the 12th of June 2023, the Students Loan Bill became law, with the assent of Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu.

According to Professor Kighir, the Act needs amendments in several aspects, in order to effectively serve the purpose for which it was established.

Prof Kighir

He proposes that rather than being a fund under the administration of the governor of the central bank as currently provided in the Act, government should create an independent body to be called the “National Education Loans Fund (NELFUND)” to ensure a smooth, unencumbered administration of the fund.

Kighir told the House committee that instead of having the CBN governor as chairman of the Fund, with the power to appoint a secretary, the proposed NELFUND should have a chairman and an Executive Secretary appointed by the president, in accordance with laid down rules for appointments into federal agencies.

Professor Kighir also stressed the need to address the issue of funding sources for the Students Fund, suggesting that 50% of the funds that presently go to TETFUND be redirected to the proposed NELFUND, as against the current provision for deductions from the federation account that appear to violate the constitution.

“In the short run, I recommend the funding of NELFUND through 50% of TETFUND annual collections by FIRS. 50% of Tetfund annual collection should be paid into National Education Loan Fund (NELFund) account for disbursement to students which in turn will be used for payments of school charges(as they call it),” he stated.

On the issue of default and eventual delinquency, Prof Kighir recommended  that debt forgiveness after 25 years of no job should be considered and incorporated into the Act.

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