The Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board has so far recovered K35 million between April and October this year out of the K1.7 billion former University of Malawi (Unima) and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students owe government.
The loans board executive director Chris Chisoni yesterday said the money has been recovered from 3 000 loan beneficiaries who did their studies between 1985 and 2012 at the two institutions.
He described the amount as substantial, considering that the board is recovering the money at the value it was borrowed for fees as the beneficiaries are still within the grace period.
“But we have intensified our campaign for recoveries. We are imploring employers to disclose employees who benefitted from the loans. We just approached government now because it is the biggest employer, so it cooperated by giving us a list of names of its employees who were beneficiaries of the loans and we have taken it back to government so that it can allocate them per ministry so that they can deduct at the source,” said Chisoni.
He commended some private sector companies that have been forthcoming by paying for their employees who benefitted from the loans.
Said Chisoni: “People from embassies, international NGOs [Non-Governmental Organisations] and the UN [United Nations] agencies are also being visited, so the threshold will soon move up and we will be able to reach the target of K480 million which the board set to be raised by June 2017.”
Prior to setting a time frame for loan beneficiaries to pay back their loans, government has been struggling to recover the money from the beneficiaries, some of whom hold senior positions in the public and private sectors.
The board, established under a 2015 Act of Parliament, set 12 months starting from April 2016 to recover loans borrowed between 1985 and 2012 which are deemed mature.
The outstanding loans were granted to the beneficiaries under students’ loan schemes which government introduced during the 1985/86 university calendar.n