Students loan: Reps summons permanent secretary Ministry of Education

The House of Representatives has invited the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejo to appear before its Subcommittee on students’ Loans and Higher Education to give feedback on steps put in place by the Ministry and the presidential committee on student loans in implementing the student loan Act.

This is also as the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Tersee Ugboh, expressed displeasure over the absence of the Permanent Secretary despite invitation sent 3 weeks ago, but instead chose to sent the Director Legal Services in the ministry to represent him who when asked certain question declined to have an answer to them.

He stated that the outcome of the meeting will equip the committee with adequate knowledge to further carry out a summit on the Act.

According to him, the summit will enable inputs from relevant stakeholders across boards through the memoranda presented and amendments will be compiled to the proposed Act for the benefit of students.

He queried that non appearance can bring about discord between the legislature and executive.

Rep. Ugbo stated: “It happened before and it led to a lot of disharmony between the leadership and the working relationship between the Executive arm of Government and the Legislature. We know that under the leadership of our current president, the commitments and the passion they have shown for the issues that have to do with the education sector and they expect to see form the federal ministry of education.

“And so we are providing another opportunity to come back again, hopefully, this time with more details of what needs to be done, proposed amendments you are suggesting for this students loan act so that we can facilitate for you and on behalf of Nigerians.

“So with that being said, the committee will go ahead and fix a date for the summit that we are proposing and will begin to work towards convening the summit where all stakeholders in the country will be invited to make proposals and amendments to the act”.

Earlier in her submission, the Director of Legal Services from the Ministry of Education Enonebi Azorbo, said the ministry will harness all powers within its reach, to assist to lift the barriers for the smooth smooth implementation of the Students Loans Act.

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According to her, a committee was constituted, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, inaugurated in June and has been working on modalities towards the implementation of the act.

She stated: I will like to say that upon the passage of the act, Mr president setup a command it is housed in the office of the Chief of Staff to the President and they are working on modalities on the implementation.

The membership is as follows: the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Director-General of the Budget Office, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance”.

When asked what the committee had done since inception, Azorbo explained that she had no further information than what she had stated.

“That is really what we have to say, the committee is working and it has not concluded its job. We don’t have anything to say more than that it is working and we can’t preempt what it is doing”, she added.

But the chairman expressed worries that the president had assure that he was lifting all barriers to access student loans for Nigerian.

“This is important to note because the Act puts limitations on accessing these loans, the act puts barriers and limits to accessing the loans by parents of the children who should access the loan limit of N500,000 income for families”, he said.

Recalled that President Bola Tinubu had in his recent Broadcast stated that every barrier to the implementation of the Students’ loan will be lifted, hence the drive of the green chamber to proffer legislative measures to enable swift implementation.

The Permanent Secretary is expected to appear on Tuesday, August 15th 2023.

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