Tinubu seeks repeal of students loans act, seeks re-enactment

Elizabeth AtimeMarch 15, 20243 min

President Tinubu forwarded a correspondence to the National Assembly seeking the repeal of the existing Act.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has forwarded a letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives, seeking a repeal and re-enactment of the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, otherwise known as the Student Loan Act.

President Tinubu’s letter came in during Thursday’s plenary at both chambers a day after the announcement of a temporary suspension of the commencement of the student loan programme aimed at enabling Nigerian students enrolled in tertiary educational institutions to obtain low-interest loans to finish their education.

OrderPaper recalls that the Bill which President Tinubu signed in June 2023 was to be launched on Thursday 14th March 2024, but was postponed indefinitely by the Federal Government as disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, Akintunde Sawyer.

The criticisms levelled at the qualifying requirements for applicants, repayment plans, and governance structure following the law’s signing may have some bearing on the president’s decision.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s newly enacted Students Loan Act sparks heated debate among citizens

The President’s letter which sought an expeditious consideration of the bill was read for the first time at the Senate and was subsequently passed for a second reading.

The Leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) who presented the bill on the floor of the Red Chamber noted that the bill will ensure the provision of loans to qualified Nigerians to pay tuition, fees, charges and upkeep during their course of study in approved tertiary education institutions and vocational and skills acquisition institutions in Nigeria.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio however, emphasised that President Tinubu’s request was to repeal and reenact the bill in line with the vision, strengthen implementation and ensure sustainability in the programme.

At the Green Chamber, the letter was read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas and passed for a second reading.

Speaking in support of the proposed legislation, Rep. Terseer Ugbor (APC, Benue), the Ad-hoc Committee Chairman on student loans and Access to Higher Education said Nigerians will have a more robust implementable Student loan Act with the bill.

“We are happy that the federal government has seen the need in line with what the Ad-hoc Committee presented after the summit on this student loan issue to repeal this Act and replace it. I rise today to thank the drafters of this piece of legislation. We are proud that the Students Loan Act is going to become a reality and the students of Nigeria are going to benefit from the Student Loan Scheme for the benefit of our education for the development of Nigerians,” he said.

(With additional report from Sharon Eboesomi)

Elizabeth Atime

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