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Address by Hon. Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman @ the Launch of Repayment Partnership between SLTF and GN Bank

Mr Chairman, Chairman for the GN Group of Companies Dr and Mrs Paa Kwasi Nduom, Hon. Members of Parliament Present, Board Members from SLTF and GN Group, Students Representative Present, Representatives from various Organised Bodies, Personnel from SLTF & GN Bank, Media and Press men & women, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good Morning, It is an honour to be here to witness the outdooring of a new relationship between the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) an agency under my Ministry and the GN Bank, a fully owned Ghanaian financial institution.

  • I am informed that as a result of this official launch commencing May 4th 2015, all 105 GN Bank locations and branches across the country will be receiving students’ loan repayments on behalf of the Students Loan Trust Fund. Therefore people in Pusiga, Kpandai, Elubu, Half Assin, Asebu, Dzemeni, Sefwi Bakwai, Dunkwaw, Bia-Debiso and Akwatia can have access to a pay points because of GN Bank.
  • I am also informed that by the inclusion of GN Bank, the Students Loan Trust Fund would now increase its Loan repayment points across the country from 251 pay points to 356 pay points. GN Bank by this arrangement is coming to join existing repayments pay points such as GCB Bank, Ecobank, NIB and all 14 SLTF Zonal offices across the country to collect loan repayments when they become due.

The private sector is known for its competence and hence collaborations such as today’s, must be mutually beneficial. Partnerships such as this can deliver efficiency, optimal use of resources and value for money for parties. I therefore belong to the school of thought that advocates the use of the private sectors in areas where they have  comparative advantage such as a shorter turn-around time in decision making, superior technology, infrastructure and sometimes very potent market research.

By this arrangement therefore, we expect that our clients (Ghanaian tertiary students) will be treated with utmost respect when they visit any of  the GN Bank locations across the Country to conduct the business of repaying their loans or any other business with the bank.

The Students Loan concept in Ghana has supported millions of Ghanaians in their quest for higher education for over four decades. Many Ghanaians in my generation benefited from the then GCB Students loan or SSNIT Students Loan. In the last 10 years the Students Trust Fund has been accessed by over 68,000 eligible Ghanaians. The students loan is an important social intervention that could reduce the gap between Senior High Completion and tertiary enrolment.

The students loan is also important in reducing barriers to attaining tertiary education for Ghanaians. Stakeholders must therefore be interested in ensuring its perpetual existence. Stakeholders must play a role in promoting the subject of students loans repayment. It is for this reason that Section 24 of the SLTF ACT, 2011, ACT 820 enjoins all employers to enquire from employees who have attained any form of higher education if they benefited from the Students Loan. Provisions in this law mandates employers to make monthly deductions from employees and remit same to the SLTF within 15days after the deduction have been made. This is a pretty simple request per the law and we entreat all employers in both the private and public sectors to familiarize themselves with the law and comply accordingly.

In today’s fast paced era it is important that the Students Loan Trust Fund continues to deploy innovative ways to make students loan repayment convenient for its borrowers both home and abroad. Repaying the students loan when it is due is critical to sustaining the Fund for the benefit of future generations. Therefore all borrowers who are due should take advantage of the multiplicity of pay points to pay off their loans.

 

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we all understand that having a vibrant private sector is an important component of every country’s quest for development; however, the growth of the private sector should be driven by accountable and good governance principle. It is our hope therefore, that all public and private sector players will familiarise themselves with the various pieces of laws necessary to operate responsibly and support national development.

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, Friends from the media, having spent most of my career in academia and now being in charge of Education I believe education is one of the key tools Ghana needs to transform the economy and improve development outcomes. These outcomes are better delivered when many more citizens attain some form of higher education, and therefore I will encourage the Private Sector to go beyond some of these partnership and support education through institutions of state.

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely hope that the inclusion of GN Bank to the list of repayment options will be useful to beneficiaries and employers irrespective of their locations.

Thank you all for the attention and God Bless our Homeland Ghana.

 

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