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20.03.2007 General News

Interest On Students’ Loan Down

The Students' Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) Board has paid heed to the appeal made by the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) to reduce the interest rate charged on the students' loan.

Consequently, the SLTF Board says students will pay the Government of Ghana 182-Day Treasury Bill rate plus two per cent at the time of repayment instead of its initial proposal of asking students to pay the Government of Ghana 182-Day Treasury Bill rate plus four per cent.

The one per cent to be charged on the loan given every year to a student during the period of study has also been scrapped.

“Interest on the new SLTF scheme shall read a Government of Ghana 182-Day Treasury Bill rate plus 0+0+0+0 plus two per cent during repayment period, instead of the initial arrangement of the Government of Ghana 182-Day Treasury Bill rate +1+1+1+1 plus four per cent during repayment period.”

National Union of Ghana Students President, Mr William Yamoah, announced this at a news conference in Accra yesterday.

According to him, the decision to accept the new deal struck with the SLTF Board was based on expert advice from renowned fund managers and financial researchers in the country.

That, he said, followed a series of negotiations and meetings with the SLTF Board on the need to reduce the interest rate, adding that “after a marathon deliberation with the board, the interest rate was finally reduced”.

Apart from that, he said, the union had been able “to secure a ceiling under which negotiations could be called, and what this means is that anytime the Treasury Bill rate appreciates beyond 12 per cent, the union would be invited for renegotiations regarding the interest rate to be charged on the loans students take”.

Mr Yamoah said the union would pray that the country's economy would continue to improve to reflect a reasonable reduction in the Treasury Bill rate to help reduce the plight of the Ghanaian student.

He, therefore, appealed to students to render their unflinching support to ensure that the scheme was sustained for the benefit of generations yet to be born, and stated that the “interest of Ghanaian students shall forever remain paramount in the daily pursuits of the union”.

“We, however, caution that any member of the union who have any other form of grievances should resort to the right structures of the union to resolve them. To this end, the union directs all first year students to complete the application processes towards the payment of their loans,” he urged.

Mr Yamoah said students would benefit from a number of supports that were not part of the previous students' loan scheme such as the 1972 scheme, GCB Book Loan Scheme and SSNIT Loan Scheme, saying that the new scheme made provision for one guarantor who could be a parent or guardian, among other things.