President Bola Tinubu has officially signed the Student Loan Bill into law, paving the way for Nigerian students to obtain interest-free loans.
The announcement was made by presidential aide Dele Alake, who shared the news with State House Correspondents on Monday evening.
Highlighting the significance of the bill, Alake emphasized that it would greatly support educational pursuits among youths across the country. However, to benefit from this initiative, students must demonstrate their financial need.
To ensure efficient disbursement of the loans, a committee comprising relevant education stakeholders will be established. Funding for the program will come from a percentage of the Federation’s revenue.
Commenting on the development, Andrew Adejo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, expressed his belief that the bill would address the issue of financial constraints hindering indigent students’ educational aspirations. He also mentioned that the Ministry already possesses experience in managing students’ financial affairs through the student scholarship boards scheme. Additionally, the country’s expertise in loan recovery from various projects will aid in the repayment process.
The permanent secretary stressed the importance of media cooperation in disseminating information about education funding in the country. He also urged states to align their financial and technical support with that of the Federal Government to ensure the provision of quality education to Nigerians.
According to PUNCH, the Students Loan Bill includes penalties for defaulting students or those aiding defaulters, such as two years of imprisonment or a fine of N500,000, or both. The bill successfully passed its second reading at the House of Representatives on May 25, 2023.
Titled “A Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through an interest-free loan from the Nigerian Education Bank established in this Act to provide education for Nigerians and other purposes connected thereto,” the bill was sponsored by Gbajabiamila.
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