SENATE TO ESTABLISH INTEREST-FREE LOANS FOR STUDENTS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

A bill which seeks to provide a framework for education financing through the establishment of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, Wednesday, scaled the second reading at the Senate.

The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Umar Sulieman representing Kwara North Senatorial District, seeks to grant interest-free loans and bursaries to eligible students in tertiary institutions.

Suleiman added that the scheme would also ensure the well-structured administration of such loans and bursaries and their recovery.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Senate President, Dr Ezrel Tabiowo, on Wednesday.

The Senator recalled that the Nigeria Students Loan Board, established in 1982 to help undergraduate and graduate students finance their studies within and outside Nigeria, provided loans between 1972 and 1991 to a tune of N46 million.

He stated that the scheme was suspended in 1992 after the Board failed to recover outstanding loans of over N40 million and added that the Students Loan Board was replaced by the Nigerian Education Bank in 1993.

Explaining further, he stated that the Education Bank serves as an intermediary in education credit market financing, which was designed to mobilise private sector resources for funding education.

Suleiman noted that the bill to establish the National Students Financial Aid Scheme also seeks to repeal the existing Nigerian Education Bank.

After consideration, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further input.

The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.

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