Student admission, loan issuance set for major overhaul

13Nov 2016
Aisia Rweyemamu
Guardian On Sunday
Student admission, loan issuance set for major overhaul

THE government has announced a plan to overhaul the system currently used to admit students to various universities in the country and loan issuance and repayment procedures, saying it was cumbersome to both the students and the government.

Kassim Majaliwa

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the government would in the next financial year come up with a new system that aims to better serve the students.

“In implementing this, the government has directed that work on the intended overhaul commences immediately so that recommendations to improve the procedures should be operative in the 2017/18 financial year,” the prime minister said in his remarks when adjourning Parliament in Dodoma on Friday.

He said in order to solve emerging challenges facing students in joining higher learning institutions, coupled with cumbersome and irritating loan issuance procedure, the government was conducting a review of the student enrollment system, including the entire procedure of granting loans as a way to address problems facing students when universities open.

“I have ordered this work to be complete as early as possible so that recommendations for new procures should be considered during preparation of the 2017/2018 budget,” Majaliwa stressed.

According to the premier, in the 2016/2017 financial year a total of 64,441 students were admitted by the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) and their name forwarded to the student loans board.

“As stated by Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof Joyce Ndalichako on November 3, this year, while giving a government statement in the National Assembly about the planning and issuance of loans to higher education students up to November 2, a total of 25,228 first year students had been given loans, of which 4,787 are orphans and 127 students with disabilities,” Majaliwa noted.

In October, this year, when laying a foundation stone for construction of University of Dar es Salaam hostels, President Magufuli was irked by poor coordination between the Ministry of Education, the loans board and TCU, blaming it for the confusion in loans disbursement to students.

He therefore directed all institutions of higher learning in the country to agree on a single opening date effective next academic year, adding that the date should be coordinated by TCU. He said by opening day loans should have already been deposited in the students’ bank accounts.

In a separate development, the prime minister has expressed his disappointment over poor revenue collection by local councils this financial year.

According to Majaliwa, all councils were directed to collect revenue amounting to Sh665.4 billion this financial year, but until September, this year, the councils had collected a mere Sh 114.46 billion, equivalent to 17.2 per cent of the targeted amount.
”This is absolutely inadequate revenue collection,” Majaliwa said.

“I call on councils to step up efforts to collect revenue by using electronic systems in all areas, especially in health services,” he said.

The premier directed local government authorities to beef up their internal control systems and ensure that value for money is realized in each service or product procured by them.

The prime minister also directed accounting officers to fully comply with the Public Procurement Act and its regulations and take appropriate disciplinary measures and legal action against heads of department, units and government institutions engaged in questionable payments.

He said such measures would greatly strengthen the management of taxpayers' money.
In another development, the government has collected Sh151bn in royalties from big mining companies in the country.

Majaliwa stated that in the period between October 2015 and October 2016, the government conducted inspection of big gold mines including Biharamulo, Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi, Geita, New Luika and North Mara, which culminated in their payment of $69.4m (Sh. 151bn) as royalties.