The Federal Government, on Wednesday, announced that an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to fine-tune the Student Loan bill that was signed recently by President Bola Tinubu.
The committee, which will meet on Tuesday, is expected to work together and ensure that the disbursement of the student loans starts by September 2023 for the 2023/2024 academic session.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejo, who disclosed these to journalists at a press conference in Abuja, said higher institutions cannot introduce tuition fees because of the introduction of the loan scheme.
According to him, the institutions are not autonomous.
“The President has approved the constitution of an inter-ministerial committee on student loans made up of the necessary ministries and agencies. The inaugural meeting will come up on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. The President has also directed that by September/October 2023/2024 academic session, he wants to see recipients of the loan. So it’s a serious business.
“Between now and then, we have to fine-tune the processes. The loan purpose is for the beneficiary to finish an education program. The recovery doesn’t start until you get employed. The committee has been given specific terms of reference.
“Without trying to say what the committee will do, we don’t want to make it something that only people who want to go to public schools will benefit from. Anybody that is indigent can benefit. Private schools already pay tuition so you have to give somebody who wants to go to a private school the opportunity to get the loan and pay tuition,” Adejo stated.
Reacting to reports on the introduction of tuition fees, the permanent secretary noted that Federal Government-owned universities lacked the financial autonomy to introduce tuition fees at the moment.
“Government alone cannot foot the bill for education and that is why we are doing public-private partnerships. Universities are autonomous but what they don’t have yet is financial autonomy. When they get that, they will be able to answer the questions on the introduction of tuition,” he stated.