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Tinubu extends student loan scheme to include skill development


President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigeria Education Loan Fund management to extend its reach by offering interest-free loans to Nigerian students pursuing skill development programs.

The announcement was made at the State House on Monday after a briefing by NELFUND’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr, detailing preparations for the upcoming program launch later this month, according to a statement by the presidential spokesperson.

Tinubu stressed the importance of the program catering to individuals not inclined toward university education, highlighting the equal significance of skill acquisition alongside traditional academic qualifications at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“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. 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,” said Tinubu.

The President also emphasized the need for equity and inclusivity in the program’s management, ensuring that economically challenged but qualified students would have access to the loan.

“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. There is no compromise in our commitment to the disadvantaged citizens of this nation,” he stated.

During the presentation, Sawyerr highlighted that the loan application process would rely on technology to minimize human interaction, ensuring the elimination of potential maladministration in the program.

“This is a perpetual programme and will not terminate. The funds, earmarked for bona-fide Nigerian students, will be disbursed directly to the institutions in the initial phase through electronic transfer. Our students will be catered to in a way that bypasses human interference through the full utilization of available technological platforms, in adherence to Your Excellency’s stated objectives,” he added.

NELFUND has also implemented a robust risk-mitigation mechanism to handle potential risks associated with the program.

Regarding the funding mechanism, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Dr. Zacch Adedeji assured that funding sources are in place to facilitate the seamless initiation and continuity of the program.

“Mr. President is permanently solving the problem of funding for education in Nigeria. By the directive of the President, the Education Tax Fund is being reviewed to additionally cater to the needs of our university students across all local government areas in the country as they seek to access vocational and traditional university education. Funding for the programme will be adequately covered,” he affirmed.

WuzupNigeria recently reported the Federal Government’s plans to launch the Nigerian Education Loans Fund through an application. President Tinubu had previously announced that the distribution of student loans to Nigerians would commence in January 2024.

The Education Loan Fund, supported by the Student Loan Act, aims to provide interest-free loans to Nigerians pursuing tertiary education and skill development programs.