Dr Leonard Akwilapo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, urged loan officers to efficiently coordinate the loan issuance exercise, setting up appropriate mechanisms to remove bottlenecks in the exercise.
The sum will benefit 145,000 students, among them 54,000 first year students, he said when opening an HELSB management meeting, with university loan officers attending the opening ceremony.
Dr Akwilapo said the government has been increasing the funds allocated to cover more students, raising the funds from 347bn/- in the 2014/2015 academic year. “We are determined to empower young Tanzanians academically,” he declared.
He challenged loan officers to facilitate smooth issuance of loans to avoid complaints from students, commending the board for proper supervision of loan disbursements to beneficiaries, insisting that universities must immediately channel the monies to qualified students’ bank accounts.
He said that fifth phase government has spent 2.25trn/- for issuance of loans to students in higher learning institutions in five years.
HESLB Executive Director Abudlrazak Badru said that all qualified students will have money deposited in their bank accounts before the opening of universities and colleges next month.
Loan desks at universities and colleges were set up in 2011 to decongest board offices of large numbers of students pursuing their applications, while the desks also help track repayments, he stated.
The meeting brought together loan officers from over 120 higher learning institutions to discuss the implementation of a digitalized loan repayment system, he explained.
Prof William Anangisye, the University of Dar es Salaam Vice Chancellor and chairman of the HESLB board of directors, urged loan officers to use friendly language when attending students.
“There are complaints from students over the use of bad language. This shouldn’t continue as students deserve respect and care for their needs,” he cautioned.
HESLB was established under the enabling HESLB Act (Cap 178) and became operational in July 2005, mandated to, issue loans to eligible students and track down repayments after graduation and start of employment for beneficiaries.