April 18, 2024

Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) Gears Up for Launch with Inaugural Committee Meeting

 

 

By: Emmanuel Ibitoye

 

The Special Committee overseeing the imminent launch of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) convened its inaugural meeting in anticipation of the program’s rollout on Monday, February 26, 2024.

 

Chaired by Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank and Chairman of the Special Committee, the 11-member committee comprises representatives from key Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and statutory bodies outlined in the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act 2023.

 

The committee includes the Governor of the Central Bank, the executive secretary of NELFUND (Akintunde Sawyerr), representatives of the Ministries of Education and Finance, the Chairman of the National Universities Commission, representatives of the Vice Chancellor’s Forum and Rectors and Provost Forum, the Auditor General of the Federation, representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress, a representative of the Nigerian Bar Association, and a representative of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (who has declined membership).

 

Olayemi Cardoso urged committee members to leverage their diverse skills to ensure the success of the program, emphasizing its significance as one of President Bola Tinubu’s signature projects. The ongoing engagement with various stakeholders is crucial for a smooth rollout.

 

The Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act 2023, signed into law by President Tinubu on June 12, 2023, establishes a legal framework for granting loans to indigent or low-income Nigerians, facilitating the payment of their tuition fees. The Act aims to enhance access to higher education for Nigerian students and has been advocated by President Tinubu for extension to cover vocational training.

 

Mr. Cardoso expressed his commitment and support for the program’s success, acknowledging President Tinubu’s dedication to reducing the financial burden on funding the education of Nigerian students. With the inaugural meeting uniting all legal stakeholders, the stage is now set for the final rollout of the fund.

 

NELFUND, created by the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, is designed to provide loans for indigent Nigerian students at tertiary institutions. The Act outlines multiple funding streams, including donations, gifts, grants, endowments, and revenue from any other source, to support NELFUND’s functions in processing loan requests, grants, disbursement, and recovery.

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