Tinubu directs expansion of student loan to cover those seeking skill development

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President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) to expand the interest-free loans to accommodate Nigerian students interested in skill development programmes.

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In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, said Tinubu gave the directive on Monday after receiving a briefing from Akintunde Sawyerr, executive secretary of NELFUND.

The President said it is important for the student loan scheme to create room for those who may not want to pursue university education, noting that skill acquisition is as important as obtaining undergraduate and graduate academic qualifications.

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“This is not an exclusive programme. It is catering to all of our young people. Young Nigerians are gifted in different areas. This is not only for those who want to be doctors, lawyers, and accountants,” the statement reads.

“It is also for those who aspire to use their skilled and trained hands to build our nation.

“In accordance with this, I have instructed NELFUND to explore all opportunities to inculcate skill-development programmes because not everybody wants to go through a full university education.”

The president stressed the need for equity and inclusivity in the management of the programme to ensure that it is accessible to everyone.

“No matter how economically challenged you are, accredited and qualified students will and must have access to this loan to advance their education in higher institutions,” Tinubu said.

‘There is no compromise in our commitment to the disadvantaged citizens of this nation.

While briefing the president, Sawyerr said the loan application process would be technology-driven, limiting human interface and eliminating any possibility of compromise.

“By design, this is a perpetual programme and will not terminate. The funds, earmarked for bonafide Nigerian students, will be disbursed directly to the institutions in the initial phase through electronic transfer,” he said.

“Our students will be catered to in a way that bypasses human interference through the full utilisation of available technological platforms in adherence to your excellency’s stated objectives.”

Sawyerr said NELFUND has developed a robust risk-mitigation mechanism to address potential risks that may arise from the programme.

The student loan scheme is billed to take off this month.

This president signed the bill into law in June 2023.

 

 

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