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13.01.2006 General News

Students Owe SSNIT ¢1.4 Trillion

By Ghanaian Chronicle

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) faces the danger of being run down if students from the tertiary educational institutions in the country continue to shirk the responsibility of repaying the student loan they benefited from SSNIT after school.

Students who have passed through the country's public tertiary educational institutions owe the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) ¢1.4 trillion since the inception of the Students' Loan Scheme.

As of October last year, only ¢191.3 billion had been paid, the Public Relations Officer of the trust, Mr. Osei Bimpong has disclosed.

He said total disbursement was ¢732 billion with ¢700 billion of interest accruing on the principal.

Mr. Bimpong said some of the beneficiaries are still in school.

In 2004, The Head of Students Loan Department of SSNIT disclosed that the Students Loan Scheme is being crippled by the failure of tertiary students who complete their courses to pay back their loans.

They then owed the trust ¢348 billion. The trust recovered ¢83 billion from student loan beneficiaries nationally and internationally as a result of new initiatives for recovery.

In 2001, Out of ¢192 billion disbursed under the SSNIT Students' Loan Scheme since its inception in 1988, only ¢8.12 billion was recovered.

This meant beneficiaries owed the scheme more than ¢183 billion at that time. "This situation does not promote sound business practice and the survival of the loan scheme," he intimated.

As of December 2001, the government and the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) owed SSNIT about ¢300 billion.

Out of the amount, NUGS was expected to pay ¢77.4 billion, whilst government settles the rest.

As a result of this non-payment of the students' loans, monies due some pensioners who have guaranteed for some of these defaulters have been held up by the Trust.

Others had to pay from their own pockets.

Former NUGS President, Edward Kofi Omane Boamah, said the issue remains a major concern to the Union and it will do everything possible to ensure that defaulters settle their debts.

He said it is even more embarrassing that some very prominent personalities in the country have also failed to pay back the loans.

Mr. Boamah said drastic measures, including publishing the names of some of these very prominent persons who have defaulted, will soon be taken to ensure that the loans are paid back, so that innocent people who provided guarantees do not suffer for the wrongs of others.

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