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By Samuel Akpan

Zacch Adedeji, chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), says education tax is one of the funding sources for student loan.

Adedeji spoke on Monday at the end of the federal executive council (FEC) meeting held at the presidential villa.

The FIRS chairman said the student loan scheme will increase access to education.

“This is in fulfilment of Mr President’s promise that we will make education accessible to all. And why I have to make my own input is because of the source of funding,” he said.

This is one of the schemes that we will apply education tax that we will collect. So, this is a way of being accountable to the taxpayer because the essence of education tax is to consolidate and restore education integrity and quality.

“And in fulfilling that part of the Act — is why education tax fund is one of the sources of funding. By God’s grace that is what we’ll use actually to execute this laudable programme.”

Also speaking, Akintunde Sawyerr, executive secretary of the Student Loan Board, said the application process to access the student loan will be automated.

Sawyerr said the national identity number (NIN), and bank verification number (BVN) are part of the requirements to access the loam.

“In applying for this loan, there is zero human intervention. In other words, there is an app,” he said.

“The applicants will go to a portal and engage with the app. They will have to put in certain pieces of information which made them eligible — that is their JAMB number, and of course, tie into that is their date of birth.

“Further pieces of information include things like their national identity number (NIN), which confirms that they are Nigerians. This loan scheme is being paid for by Nigerian taxpayers.

“So, it’s for Nigerians and the NIN helps verify and qualify them as such.

“It will also have their matric number, and admission number so that we can firmly establish which institution they are going to because one of the key elements of this is that once we have received applications and those applications are approved, the fees or the tuition requirements in terms of financials will be transferred directly to the institution.

“That in itself has benefits for the institution. Many students are struggling to pay their fees, their parents are struggling to pay their fees.

“There is a very high dropout rate. So it’s one thing to get into a tertiary institution. It is another thing to stay there for four years or three years.”

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