The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Students Loans and Access to Higher Education has summoned the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew Adejo to appear and explain the student loan implementation.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Terseer Ugbor (Benue -APC) gave the ruling on Thursday at a public hearing after members expressed their displeasure over the failure of the permanent secretary to honour their invitation.
The committee frowned at the inability of the delegation, sent by the permanent secretary to answer questions on the subject matter and adjourned hearing to August 15.
It could be recalled that the 9th National Assembly passed the bill on student loans which was assented to by President Bola Tinubu.
It could also be recalled that Tinubu pledged to remove all the hindrances to accessing the loan as part of the palliative to cushion effects of petrol subsidy removal.
Ugbor said that the committee had a mandate to convene a summit and harvest ideas of all stakeholders on how best to implement the law.
According to him, the committee is to present a report to the House of Representatives on proposed amendments to the Students Loans Act.
The chairman said that the committee had scheduled August 24 to hold the summit and that the permanent secretary must appear on August 15.
“For emphasis, students loans are an important aspect of modern education financing around the world and it creates access to education for students who would otherwise be unable to afford a higher education.
“It also enable them to study professional courses needed for our scientific development, industrialisation, technological advancement and economic growth.
“For students loans schemes to be successful, they must be easy to access, easy to repay and supported by flexible exit plans so as not to over burden our young citizens and stifle their development after graduation,” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Dr. Enonebi Azorbo tendered the apology of the permanent secretary for his inability to attend the hearing in person.
She said that the Federal Government on June 19, 2023, set up a committee led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila to examine the implementation of the Act.
Azorbo, who is the Director of Legal Services in the ministry, said that the membership of the committee include the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministries of Education and Finance and the Budget Office.
She said until the committee was done with its job and a report was made, not much could be said on the implementation of the Act by the ministry.
She pledged to convey the position of the committee to the permanent secretary. (NAN)