The Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board has recovered over K4 million ($5 772) from some of the former student loan beneficiaries who studied at the University of Malawi (Unima) and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) between 1985 and 2012.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, the board’s director of loans Emma Tambala said since the board intensified recovery efforts from 1st April this year, they have been receiving inquiries on the repayment procedures and many of them have started paying back the loans some through their employers.
“We are making progress; we have been receiving emails, phone calls from different individuals inquiring on the repayment procedures. We have been checking our bank accounts and yes the figures are rising,” she said.
The board is set to recover up to K1.7 billion ($2.5 million) matured loans acquired by the former student beneficiaries to make the scheme viable, evolving and sustainable to meet the ever increasing demand for support by needy and deserving students in the country’s institutions of higher learning.
Tambala said the board has also engaged officials from government’s Human Resources Department and are strategising on starting to deduct the loans by former students working in the civil service from the payroll.
She said most of those who have repaid the loans are from the private sector.
The board’s executive director Chris Chisoni in an earlier interview pleaded with managers from both public and private institutions to support the board by tracking down the former student beneficiaries employed in their institutions.
Chisoni gave a one year ultimatum warning that failure to cooperate with the board by April 2017, employers of the former beneficiaries will attract a penalty fee of K1 million ($1 443) for each employee.
“We have given a grace period of March 2016 to April 2017, taking into consideration that there were no proper guidelines for recovery at the beginning of the process. We expect employers to collaborate with us in this by giving us the names,” said Chisoni.
He said the board is under pressure to support up to 7000 needy and deserving students but it has only managed to support about 4670 due to poor funding.
In the 2015/16 budget the board received an allocation of K1.5 billion ($2.2 million) and it has used 85 percent of the amount (K1.257 billion) to support students and the remaining 15 percent (K225 million) for setting up a secretariat.