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Tinubu To Launch Student Loan Scheme

The Student Loan Scheme is ready to be launched on Thursday, March 14, 2024 by President Bola Tinubu.

This development was revealed by the special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale on Sunday, during a programme on TVC, The Punch reports.

Some of the President’s welfare initiatives being implemented at the moment, was discussed on the programme titled ‘Counting the Cost of Presidents Tinubu’s Reforms,’ Ngelale said, “Later this week, on Thursday, the President will launch the historic National Student Loan Programme.”

“This is a major form of obligation reduction for Nigerians and families and young people at a time when Nigerians are feeling the pinch. We believe this is the way to go,” he added.

Tinubu had on June 12, 2023, signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, into law to enable indigent students to access interest-free loans for their educational pursuits in any Nigerian tertiary institution.

a member of the then Presidential Strategy Team, Dele Alake, said the move was in “fulfillment of one of his campaigns promises to liberalise funding of education.”

The Act, popularly known as the Students Loan Law, also established the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, which is expected to handle all loan requests, grants, disbursement, and recovery.

Initially, the government promised it would take effect in September, but it did not. It later shifted the take-off to January but that also did not happen.

The President proposed N50bn for its take-off in the 2024 budget he presented to the National Assembly last November.

On February 7, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund, Dr Akintunde Sawyerr, exclusively confirmed to our correspondent that the much-awaited scheme would go live on February 21, when President Tinubu launches it at the State House, Abuja.

However, the launch was delayed, with Sawyerr, alongside Presidency sources, explaining that the lag time was to enable the fund to expand its mandate to include students seeking loans for skills development, as directed by the President.

After receiving a briefing from the NELFUND team led by the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, on January 22, the President directed the fund to extend interest-free loans to Nigerian students interested in skill-development programmes.

Tinubu based his decision on the need for the scheme to accommodate those who may not want to pursue a university education, noting that skill acquisition is as essential as obtaining undergraduate and graduate academic qualifications.

“This is not an exclusive programme. It is catering to all of our young people. Young Nigerians are gifted in different areas,” he said.

Linking this directive to the delay, the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga had told The PUNCH, “Don’t forget that the last time they met, the President asked them to go and expand their mandate to include those who want to learn vocational skills. That could be the reason why the whole thing was delayed; they had to increase the scope.”


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