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The Federal Government has announced that it will begin lending support to small and big business as we look to boom up the country’s slumping economy. In addition, the student loan program will also start this session.

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, David Adejo, made the disclosure in Abuja during a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Students Loans.

He said President Bola Tinubu has directed the completion of necessary work on the modalities for the students’ loan implementation, with a target start date in September 2023.

The permanent secretary stressed that the president has established a coordinating committee with his Chief of Staff, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, serving as the chairman.

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He added that the committee comprises key entities such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Budget Office, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, and others.

Adejo also described as untrue the rumour making the rounds that the signing of the Students Loan Act had prompted several federal universities to increase their charges.

While saying the recent increase in charges by federal universities in the country was unfortunate, he explained that no federal university in the country was allowed to collect tuition fees from students.

He said: “What they collect is charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, and power, among others. It is the governing councils of the universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.

“The only university that increased charges after the signing of the student loans act is the University of Lagos. They came to the ministry with a proposal to increase their charges because all governing councils were dissolved and we gave them approval.

“Immediately that was done, there was a resolution from the House stopping the increase of fees and the president also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees and that is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposal.”

The permanent secretary further explained that the charges collected by the institutions are used by them to pay for some of their services, including electricity bills.

While justifying why the universities are demanding an increase in their charges, he said that in spite of the charges, the universities have not been able to meet up with some of their expenses.

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