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Billions owed to UG Student Loan Fund; govt to hunt indebted students

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014, 0:58 by GxMedia

Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh Thursday night said millions of dollars are owed to the University of Guyana Student Loan Facility because very few graduates have been repaying the revolving fund.

Speaking at a news conference, he acknowledged that the level of repayment was extremely poor and said that government was mulling steps to ensure that students pay their debt s.

“This is something that we recognize in government and I believe that corrective action has to be taken to achieve higher level of compliance and a higher level of repayment,” he said.

Singh, whose Ministry is responsible for the Student Loan Facility, did not give any clear indication of what steps would be taken to ensure that students pay back monies borrowed.

Experts have said that if the bulk of students’ loans were being repaid, the fund would not have been cash-strapped today and highly dependent on annual replenishments through the National Budget.

The Finance Minister, meanwhile, remained tightlipped about how soon government would take a separate financial paper to the National Assembly for the GUY$450 million for the Student Loan Fund which was introduced in 1994 at the same time with fee-paying.

The combined opposition, which has a majority of seats in the National Assembly, earlier this year disapproved the allocation for Student Loans because it was lumped together with several contentious projects.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) have repeatedly assured that they would approve the money for student loans if they are taken to the House separately.

UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi has already warned that several academic programmes would have to cease and lecturers sent packing if cash for the loan fund is not approved.