• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Again, FG postpones kick-off date for students loan scheme to March 1, 2024

Tinubu to commission new Apapa, Tincan Island roads, Saturday

The Federal Government has yet again failed to meet the proposed February 26, 2024 kickoff date for the students loan scheme, and has slated March 1, 2024, as a new date for the launch.

Sources in the presidency who spoke to BusinessDay, about the postponement said the president shifted the loan scheme because the process of expanding the scheme to accommodate students of vocational schools was yet to be concluded. The new timeline for the launch is the fourth by the authorities since that much-awaited scheme was announced mid-last year.

President Bola Tinubu signed the bill into law in June 2023, to establish a Students Loan Fund (SLF) to provide interest-free loans to Nigerians seeking higher education.

The bill, sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, was initially planned to kickstart between September and October 2023.

President Tinubu announced the scheme will begin by January 2024, after his government failed to meet the October deadline last year.

In January, Yusuf Sununu, Minister of State for Education, confirmed at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, while speaking to reporters, that preparations were completed for the scheme to begin, including the finalisation of the Student Loan scheme website and the conclusion of technical plans to facilitate the scheme’s kick-off.

President Tinubu assured the leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) when they visited him at the State House, Abuja, that the scheme would begin once its expansion to accommodate extra features including vocational studies was done.

Last week, Olayemi Cardoso, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, held an inaugural meeting with the special committee to oversee the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), charging members to work towards the smooth take-off of the scheme on Monday, February 26.