Student loan: Tinubu appoints new management team for NELFund

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TINUBU

President Bola Tinubu on Friday approved the appointment of a managing director and two executive directors to serve on the management team of the National Education Loan Fund.

They include Akintunde Sawyerr as Managing Director, Frederick Akinfala as Executive Director, Finance and Administration, and Mustapha Iyal as Executive Director, Operations.

The appointments are “in line with his determination to secure Nigeria’s socio-economic future by ensuring sustainable higher education and critical skill development for all Nigerian students and the youth,” said the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement he signed Friday.

Friday’s development comes two days after Tinubu signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024.

He signed the executive bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 and Enact the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2004 to Establish the Nigerian Education Loan Fund as a body corporate to receive, manage and invest funds to provide loans to Nigerians for higher education, vocational training and skills acquisition and for related matters” in the presence of the leadership of the National Assembly, Ministers and Major Stakeholders of Education.

This followed separate considerations by both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund.

The 2023 Act had some challenges bordering on governance and management, purpose of the loans, eligibility criteria for applicants, method of application, repayment provisions and loan recovery.

However, the newly signed version allows for the appointment of a Chairperson of the fund, a Managing Director and two Executive Directors of Finance and Operations each to “assist the Managing Director in performing his duties.”

The appointees “shall hold office for five years,” the Act read.

It also made the Loan Fund a body corporate with the ability to enter contracts, including loan agreements with applicants, or to initiate enforcement actions to recover loans from beneficiaries; provisions it lacked hitherto.

With the appointment of the management team, the President says he expects that the necessary apparatuses are “expeditiously put in place for the effective take-off of this pivotal Fund for the immediate and lasting benefit of Nigerian students and families in all parts of the country.”