By Gabriel Dike


•Sawyerr and Dr. Fredrick Akinfala, executive director, finance and administration


The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) says students in tertiary institutions and approved vocational centres would start repayment of the loan two years after the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

However, NELFUND management specifically stated that the repayment of the loan would commence if the students secured a job or went into business.

Managing Director, NELFUND, Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr, said the Act specify a moratorium of two years after NYSC for the students to begin repayment of the loan.

Sawyerr said if the students start work, his employer would be expected to remit 10 percent into NELFUND dedicated account.

He added: “The loan does not have a specified repayment tenure. It makes it easy for students to apply for the loan. NELFUND would pay according to the documents provided by the institutions. We cannot put tenure on the loan; some will die, drop out, ‘Japa’ or refuse to pay. While those who went into business would pay into the same account.

“It is a revolving loan. We will not put students under pressure to get the loan and we are not going to state a tenure because it is not a commercial loan.”

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According to him, the loan is meant for students in public universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and vocational institutes, who apply via NELFUND portal and are expected to present their JAMB admission letter, NIN and BVN.

He explained that non-students would not have access to the loan and that NELFUND has put the necessary machinery in place to ensure that beneficiaries can be reached when the need arises.

His words: “We are using technology to run the new system. The process of application is online through our dedicated portal and we are limiting human contact as much as possible. Once you have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN), which are parts of the requirements, we will have access to your data and all your accounts. This will also help us to know if you are qualified or not,” Sawyerr stated.

The MD disclosed that students already in institution are eligible to apply for the loan at any level of their study and must be at the beginning of each academic session.

He noted that such students would have to provide their admission and matriculation details in addition to BVN and NIN.

Sawyerr added that about 1.2 million Nigerian students in tertiary institutions and government-recognized vocational centres would be among the first batch of beneficiaries and that the figure would increase as time goes on.

The NELFUND boss disclosed that the scheme would be funded from one per cent of the total annual revenue by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which would amount to N194 billion if the agency meets its projection.

Sawyerr observed that the loan would be paid in two segments, the first, being the school fees, which would be paid directly to the institutions while stipend would be paid into students’ account for their day-to-day upkeep.

He added that the amount individual students would access varies because of the course of study, school fees and geographical location of the institutions.

“You don’t start paying back the loan until two years after your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and you have secured a job or business. A beneficiary can defer repayment if he has not secured a job, but if after due diligence, he/she defaulted, then the student becomes a criminal and we will work with government agency that can help us get the money back, for example, EFCC, ICPC,” Sawyerr stated.