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HomeMetro NewsPresident Tinubu signs interest-free loan bill for students into law

President Tinubu signs interest-free loan bill for students into law

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President Bola Tinubu signed into law a bill making available to Nigerian students interest-free loans to pay tuition fees; this was in fulfillment of his campaign promise.

President Tinubu signed the law on Monday, a day that Nigeria also marked Democracy Day, according to his spokesman, Dele Alake.

The bill seeks the establishment of the Nigerian Education Fund, domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from which qualified applicants can access education loans through commercial banks in the country.

The student loan law sponsored by the Speaker of the 9th House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, which gives interest-free loans to underprivileged Nigerian students, passed its third reading in the House two weeks ago.

The legislation has as its short title the ‘Students Loan (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2019,’ while its long title is ‘A Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Fund established in this Act with a view to providing education for all Nigerians and for other purposes connected thereto.’

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The Bill provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in other enactments, all students seeking higher education in any public institution of higher learning in Nigeria shall have an equal right to access the loan under this Act without any discrimination arising from gender, religion, tribe, position, or disability of any kind.

“The loan referred to in this Act shall be granted to students only for the payment of tuition fees. The grant of the loan to any student under this Act shall be subject to the student(s) or applicant(s) satisfying the requirements and conditions set out under this Act.”

Gbajabiamila, now Tinubu’s chief of staff, had argued in the bill that the hardship being faced by the unemployed and low-income earners coupled with the very high cost of living in Nigeria over the years has made access to quality higher education difficult, stressful, and in some cases impossible.

He also noted that a well-educated citizenry is critical to our national development and our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy, arguing that higher education should be regarded as a public good benefiting the entire country rather than a commodity solely benefiting individual recipients.

“In tandem with the Federal government’s interest and quest to ensure access to higher education, the National Assembly has agreed to prescribe legislation that will guarantee access to quality higher education for qualified students.

(omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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