THE Reserve Bank has begun engaging financial institutions willing to partner the apex bank for the financing of the tuition loan scheme for higher and tertiary education students.
The central bank in the January 2017 Monetary Policy Statement announced that students in higher and tertiary education institutions will as from August start getting educational loans to assist parents and guardians who are struggling to pay fees.
In a statement yesterday, the RBZ called for proposals for the implementation and administration of the educational loan facility for higher and tertiary education programmes.
“In order to facilitate the envisaged student assistance, the Bank invites proposals from financial institutions registered in terms of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20) and the Microfinance Act (Chapter 24:29) for the re-establishment of the Educational Support Facility and administration of loans or facilities or any financial accommodation extended in terms of the said facility,” reads the statement.
Thousands of retrenchees, including those dismissed on notice in 2015, will get business start-up loans from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation before July 2017. The National Social Security Authority is underwriting the scheme.
The Sunday Mail understands the Smedco and NSSA boards will next week discuss eligibility criteria, individual loan quantums and repayment arrangements, among other issues.
Information at hand suggests beneficiaries could borrow up to US$3 000 each, payable over a year with interest of around 10 percent. Smedco chief executive Ms Gladys Kanyongo told this paper last week, “We are just finishing up the modalities in collaboration with Nssa. We expect to receive US$5 million for the scheme as was agreed initially, and nothing has changed in that respect.
“I will be meeting with NSSA officials on Friday and we will polish up the finer details before the proposals are taken to both the Smedco and Nssa boards for finalisation. Now, we are just working on how we can operationalise the programme, specifically dealing with who exactly the beneficiaries will be. Nssa will have to tell us the criteria to use when selecting the beneficiaries.”
The scheme was mooted in 2016 after over 10 000 employees were fired on notice in the preceding year. NSSA then availed US$5 million to Smedco for onward lending to retrenchees under a three-year facility. The loans will fund bankable projects to start small businesses.
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