Realistic Approach To Implementing Student Loan Act In Nigeria

By Erimma Nwosisi

On the 12th of June 2023, the  new President of Nigeria , Bola Ahmed Tinubu  signed into law  The Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, also known as the students loan Act, it was established to help Students in Nigeria pay  tuition fees towards their higher education and  in turn  pay back in instalments after two years, after  completing their one year orientation programme in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

This seems like a good policy, however in a country that had in decades, experienced a high level of unemployment as well as a country where  most of its graduates are regarded as frustrated jobseekers who find themselves unemployed for years after leaving university, it is not a practical or a realistic policy to expect students to pay a loan after two years upon graduation, without any certainty of  providing them with a Job.

I am sorry to say that Nigeria has been regarded as a country where graduates are so frustrated that they end up working and engaging in all sorts of commercial activities just to make ends meet , in view of  the fact that they come to  realise that their university certification is not beneficial to them . It has become very clear to them that getting a good job as a reward for dedicating four or more years to study in the university has been nothing but a strenuous struggle. And as a result, one shouldn’t be surprise when the policy makers are asked , what strategies  have they put in place to ensure that the graduates will be  able to  repay the loan?

In developed countries such as the United Kingdom, the student loans are taken out of the students accounts once they get a job . So my questions to the policy makers are

How are you going to create employment that will last and add value to the lives of the recipients and ensure that the recipients can repay the loans with ease?

How centralised is the data processing mechanisms to ensure that government can track down students that have gotten employment in order  for the government to withdraw the repayment sum?

And how  do the government intend to ensure that this  policy is consistent without being affected by corrupt practices? I would presume that the implementation of this policy must have very strict regulations and monitoring strategies attached to it.

Loan repayments is crucial in this respect, it creates a sense of responsibility to the students who have benefited from the loans scheme,however the government must address the root causes of any problems that would  prevent or delay  the repayments of the loan, to ensure that the policy lasts longer and benefits the Nigeria students.

One of such problems is the lack of employment, the government must imbibe  the art of creating viable employments. Its all about , re evaluating the various functions in the service industries in the various regions in the country, including the government civil service organisations, economic sector and the construction sector and fill up the vacuums in these establishments through job creation, which will help provide a better service and enable these organisations and sectors to function better and in turn, the government would create a good and reasonable pay grade that would be able to attract graduates.

If the government does not create employment, the student loan Act will be a failed policy and what will be the point.

Erimma Nwosisi is a radio broadcaster, producer,public relations expert and writer and political Analyst


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