January 23, 2024

Nigeria’s students’ loan scheme will be fully automated – FG

Nigeria’s students’ loan scheme will be fully automated – FG

President Bola Tinubu

The Federal Government said the Students’ Loan Scheme will be fully automated when fully operational in a matter of days.

The Executive Secretary of the Students Loans Board, Dr Akintunde Sawyerr, made this disclosure while speaking with newsmen shortly after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja on Monday.

He stressed that the scheme will be fully automated, with an affirmation of zero human intervention in the application and processing of the loan by applicants.

According to him, a specified portal has been dedicated to the scheme to eliminate human intrusion adding that the Loans Act seeks to bridge the gap between the desire to study and the capacity of students to further their education.

His words: “The intention behind it is to ensure that the reason for not being able to go on and further your education at a tertiary level, is not for the lack of finance. This law seeks to bridge the gap between the desire to study and the capacity to go further. 

“It seeks to bridge that gap that is created by lack of finance, and lack of funding. So, this is a great opportunity for that applicant, and they are the ones that are at the centre of all of this.”

Commenting on the salient opportunities provided by the Student Loan Act, Sawyerr explained that the program prioritises intending students in teacher training programs and vocational skills.

“The program provides opportunities for Nigerian students who want to go into onto the academic side and get a university degree or perhaps want to go into the technical side and go and acquire some vocational skills and some vocational qualifications which are always needed in society, and also in the teacher training space.”

On the procedure for application, the Executive Secretary explained that the application will be carried out online through a specified submission link. 

He said applicants will have to submit certain information that qualifies them for the loan which include the JAMB registration number, Date of Birth, National Identification Number, and Biometric Verification Number, among others.

His words: “The applicant will go on to a portal, they will engage with that app. They will have to put in certain pieces of information which made them eligible, what as their JAMB number, and of course the tie-in to their date of birth. 

“Further pieces of information include things like their national identity number, which confirm that they are Nigerians and that this loan scheme is being paid for by Nigerian taxpayers. So it’s for Nigerians and the NIN helps verify and qualify them as such. 

Their BVN is financial inclusion because this scheme in itself will at some point, be able to empower students so we need to know they have bank accounts.“We need to know where their accounts are to be able to access those accounts. 

“It will also have their matric number, and admission number so that we can firmly establish which institution they are going to because one of the key elements of this is that once we’ve received applications and those applications are approved, the fees or the tuition requirements in terms of financials will be transferred directly to the institution.

That in itself has benefits for the institution. Many students are struggling to pay their fees, their parents are struggling to pay their fees”.

Sawyer also assured that the Students Loan Act will impact the lives of Nigerian youths emphasizing that the scheme will enable the Nigerian government to intervene and support families particularly the needy.

“This intervention will affect the lives of many, many Nigerian youth because that’s usually the bracket as well to further their education. It will impact the lives of many many Nigerian families because the onus to pay for education tends to fall on parents or families. Well, this act is going to enable us to intervene and support families particularly those that the needy. 

“This act will affect the way society itself operates and functions”.He reassured that part of the targets of the scheme is to tackle rising cases of migration of Nigerian youths who seek by all means better education in Europe.

“There are many difficult choices people make people sometimes will have to go and do things they really don’t want to do including crossing the very treacherous and dangerous Sahel to try and get themselves to Europe because they haven’t been able to get the education they wanted. So you know, we are setting this up to help us and help our society bridge that gap”, the Executive Secretary further said.

Also speaking, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zack Adedeji, explained that the scheme will make education accessible to all Nigerians at the tertiary level with the funding coming from the education tax being collected by FIRS. 

According to him: “This is in fulfillment of Mr President’s promise that we will make education accessible to all. And while I have to put my own is because of the source of funding. This is one of the schemes that we will apply education tax that we will collect. 

“So, this is a way of being accountable to the taxpayer. Because the essence of education tax is to consolidate and restore educational integrity and quality. And in fulfilling that part of the Act, so, that is why education tax fund is one of the sources of funding by God’s grace that we’ll use actually to execute this laudable programme.”