Presenting its report to PAC, HESLB Chief Executive Officer Abdul-Razaq Badru said that after it had conducted verification in 31 universities and colleges, it found out that it had paid 2192 ghost students during the year 2015/16.
Badru also said that they will also make verifications in about 50 other higher learning institutions which were not included in the exercise in the coming academic year.
“We will continue making verifications to about 50 higher learning institutions that have not been verified,” he said.
He further said that in the 2015/16 academic year the Board disburse about 465.3bn/- to 123,798 students, in 2014/15 it paid 341bn/- to 99,069 students, while in 2013/14 it paid 328.31bn/- to 96,325 students.
He added that in 2012/13 it paid 335.07bn/- to 96,625 students, while in 2011/12 it disbursed about 317.78bn/- to 94,773 students, and in 2010/11 it paid 230.04bn/- 92,791 students.
During the year 2009/10 it pay out about 184.7bn/- to 72,035 students, while in 2008/09 it laid out 139bn/- to 58,798 students, and in 2007/08 disbursed 110.8bn/- to 55,687 students.
In the year 2006/07 at least 76.1bn/- was paid to 47,554 students, while in 2005/06 over 56.1bn/- was dished out to 42,729 students.
The CEO said that one of their strategic plans for the 2016/17 academic year is to go through the Ministry of Finance and Planning so as to deduct directly all HESLB’s debts from the workers who have been benefited from the programme when they were students.
However, the Controller and Auditor’s General (CAG) further noted that HESLB’s oganisational chart on ICT department was not directly reporting to the CEO, but instead it was reporting to the Director of Planning and Research.
The CAG said that the poor reporting structure led to inadequate decision making which may have affected the organisation’s ability to deliver its services and may affect it future as a going concern, considering the fact that the Board is heading to leveraging ICT in most of its operations.
The CAG recommended that: “It is high time HESLB restructured or changed the reporting flow to allow the ICT department to work directly with the CEO as per Section 8.8 of the government’s directives through the Public Service Management – President’s Office issued in July 2012”.
“ICT department should cut across the organisational departments in matters involving information technology, the board shall establish an effective ICT committee to steel all ICT activities including future ICT development the board intends to invest on,” the CAG report recommended.
Higher Education Students' Loans Board was established by Act No. 9 of 2004 and inaugurated by the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology on the March 30, 2005 and became operational in July 2005.
The objective of the Board is to assist, on a loan basis, needy students who secure admission in accredited higher learning institutions, but who have no economic power to pay for the costs of their education.
The Board is also entrusted with the task of collecting due loans from previous loan beneficiaries in order to have a revolving fund in place so as to make it sustainable.