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Press Release - Students’ Loan Act: ActionAid Nigeria Calls for Priority for Women and PWDs (People with Disabilities)

Ene Obi

Press Release

For Immediate Release

13th June 2023

Students’ Loan Act: ActionAid Nigeria Calls for Priority for Women and PWDs (People with Disabilities)

ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) applauds President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the students’ loan bill into law. With the passing of the bill, the National Assembly has demonstrated her commitment to promoting equal opportunities & access to higher education for all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic background and reduce inequality.

Speaking in Abuja, AAN’s Country Director, Ene Obi noted that ‘‘There was a time in Nigeria when tertiary education was free or highly subsidized. In the 1970s and 1980s, during the oil boom era, the Nigerian government implemented policies that provided free or heavily subsidized education at the tertiary level. During this period, the government covered the tuition fees and provided financial support for students in public universities and colleges, giving scholarships at both national and international levels in its investment in human capital development. This allowed many Nigerian students to pursue higher education without having to pay tuition fees directly and a lot of our leaders today benefited from this. There were also students' loans in the past that gave even more opportunities to more vulnerable students which were later stopped. Indeed, the action of the President is commendable and a welcome development.’’

ActionAid Nigeria recognises that the students' loan act is a succor to the plight of the poor if well implemented but the sustainability of the process and the act itself should be deeply examined.

Comrade Ene Obi stated that for the Students’ Loan Act to be effective and sustainable, the Federal Government must create an enabling environment for job opportunities, and economic growth which in turn will help students to repay their loans after graduation. However, the signing of this bill should not be a ploy to increase tertiary tuition fees.

She stated that ‘‘Governments should consider several measures to assist students in repaying their loans by implementing income-driven repayment plans that adjust monthly loan repayment based on the borrowers’ level of income, particularly for those who will start up as self-employed and at lower cadre jobs. The repayment methods should also include incentivising borrowers to work in certain public service sectors such as agriculture, public health, and education amongst others.

It is imperative that women and persons with disability be given utmost priority in the approval of the loans as a way of addressing historical inequalities, overcoming financial barriers, promoting inclusivity, and empowering marginalised groups.

Recall that KPMG in its International Global Economic Outlook report forecasted that Nigeria’s unemployment rate will rise to 41% In 2023Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Nigeria according to the National Bureau of Statistics stands at 33.3 per cent, under-employment is at 22.8 per cent, 42.5 per cent youth unemployment, and youth-underemployment is at 21 per cent. If the issue around under-employment or unemployment is tactically tackled, and students are not provided with financial literacy, the loan repayment may be a daunting issue.’’

Comrade Ene Obi concluded that the Students’ Loans Act is a great initiative in all written intentions, but to ensure a fair and efficient administration of the loans, a decentralized approach that would not place all powers of coordination, supervision, and monitoring in the hands of the Nigerian Education Bank should be adopted. Students and Academic Unions and Civil Society Groups should be co-opted into this process.’’

SIGNED: Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria.


Editor’s Note

ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) is a national non-governmental, non-partisan, non-religious, civil society organization and an affiliate member of the ActionAid International Federation with presence in 45 countries. AAN works in solidarity with people living in poverty and exclusion to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication towards achieving a just, equitable and sustainable world in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity, freedom from poverty and all forms of oppression.


Kemi Akinremi-Segun - Communications Coordinator ActionAid Nigeria |Tel: +234(0)8092076904|  Email: | Twitter: @kemirewa | @actionaidng |