THE Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) has yet again declared war on nearly 120,000 defaulters who owe outstanding debts amounting to 285bn/-.
The outstanding loans go back to the 1994/1995 academic year, according to the board’s Executive Director Abdul-Razaq Badru. Addressing a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Mr Badru said the board expects to kick off its inspections with employers countrywide in order to establish if their payrolls had names of employees who had not paid up their loans.
He says the manhunt for defaulters would start at least beginning next Monday, and would cover the second quarter of FY 2017/2018 that ended on December 31, 2017. Mr Badru also outlined the board’s successes – as well as challenges – even as he laid its strategic plans to improve its efficiency in issuing future loans and their recovery.
“…our officers will work with other government institutions … which are now better prepared to double our revenue collection from the current 13bn/- to 17bn/- in June 2018,’’ he said, adding: “… we’ll not spare anyone who goes against the law … because the law gives us (full) mandate to carry out inspections at workplaces … and it clearly states that whoever blocks the board from conducting such inspections would be violating the legislation.’’
Badru also says that apart from inspection within the Dar es Salaam region, the board had since strengthened its manpower at all zonal offices in Mwanza, Arusha, Dodoma and Zanzibar to ensure regular and efficient inspections.By December 31, 2017, HESLB had collected 85bn/-, and that the target was to collect at least 130bn/- by the end of next June.
“ … in the course of these collections, we’ve since ‘discovered’ at least 26,000 beneficiaries within the last six months … these are already now repaying their loans regularly, bringing to 121,000 the total number of those making regular remittances as of yesterday,’’ he added.
On fresh loans, the HESLB boss said some 122,623 students in higher learning institutions were given loans amounting to 422.45bn/- during the 2017/2018 academic year, out of whom 33,244 were first-year students who collected 110.37bn/- between them, while another 312.16bn/- went to benefit some 89,379 senior students.