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National Assembly passes Student Loan Bill

The National Assembly, which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives, has approved the student loan bill.

After passing through first, second, and third readings in both chambers, the bill officially became law on Wednesday.

The Senate’s decision came after reviewing the report from the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, presented by the committee’s chairman, Muntari Dandutse, during the session.

President Bola Tinubu wrote to the National Assembly on March 14, requesting the repeal and reenactment of the student loan bill.

During the House of Representatives’ plenary session, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas read the President’s letter, while Senate President Godswill Akpabio read the Senate’s version in the red chamber.

The bill, titled the Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2024, aims to improve the implementation of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme. It addresses issues concerning the management structure of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELF), applicant eligibility criteria, loan purposes, funding sources, and disbursement and repayment procedures.

Previously, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, Akintunde Sawyer, mentioned in an interview that the launch of the scheme had been indefinitely postponed for corrections.

However, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Sonny Echono, clarified that the launch was only delayed for a few weeks and not indefinitely.

Tinubu initially signed the bill for the Students Loan Fund in June 2023, intending to provide interest-free loans for higher education to Nigerians. The program was supposed to commence between September and October 2023, as proposed by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Despite missing the October deadline, Tinubu announced that the program would officially begin in January 2024.

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