Government has confirmed that an overwhelming number of university graduates who contracted education loans from public institutions of high learning are willing to pay back what they owe.
Ministry of Higher Education Public Relations Officer Chiselwa Kawanda said her Ministry has received overwhelming response from the former students asking the modalities of payment so that they can start offsetting their loans.
Ms. Kawanda said it was encouraging that most of the ex-students who have loans have come forth to check how much they owe and how to offset the loan following the announcement by government requesting them to do so.
She disclosed that between 2004 and 2017, over 41,000 leaners accessed students’ loans and that government through its systems is tracking them to ensure that they pay back the loans in order for other students to benefit from the scheme.
Ms. Kawanda said government has opened an account with the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) where the finances will be deposited and strictly used as a revolving fund for students’ loans.
She stated that government only has the capacity to sponsor about 4,000 students out of the over 11,000 students who apply for loans every year hence the need for those who got the loans to start paying so that many more others can access the loans.
She revealed that this year government has tracked 19,000 beneficiaries of the students’ loans, 11,800 of whom are on the NAPSA system and 4,870 are on the government payroll which will make the recovery system easy.
She said about 2,000 from the 19,000 who were tracked are yet to be known where they work assuming that they could either be unemployed or deceased.
Ms. Kawanda added that government is also using missions abroad in the recovery process of the loans to ensure that those who have migrated to seek greener pastures abroad also offset their loans.
She explained that government has attached a 15 percent interest on the loans because the cash they got in 2004, for instance, has depreciated hence the interest is meant to cover up the depreciation value of the loans.
Ms. Kawanda has since appealed to the former students who benefited from the students bursaries at various public institutions before it become a loan in 2004 to also think of how they can contribute to helping other students who currently need sponsorship.
She said beneficiaries of the bursaries can help at their discretion because they benefitted from government and encouraged them to belong to their former school alumni and ensure that they help their former schools.
Government recently announced that it is seeking to recover the loans from former students who contracted loans from public universities which are The University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, and Kapasa Makasa University.