Mr Chairman, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemeng, Hon. Minster of Education, Dr and Mrs Nduom – Group Chairs GN Group of Companies, Hon. Members of Parliament Present, Board Members from SLTF and GN Group, Representatives from various Organised Bodies, Staff Members from SLTF and GN Bank, Media and Press men & women, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good Morning, and welcome once again. Today we are delighted to welcome on board GN Bank to our existing list of very progressive banks receiving student’s loan repayments on behalf of the SLTF. By this arrangement GN Bank will be joining banks like the National Investment Bank, Ecobank, and GCB Bank to receive student’s loan repayments nationwide. Students can also still visit any of the 14 SLTF Zonal offices across the country to repay their loans.
The coming into being of this arrangement between the SLTF and the GN Bank will offer several benefits to all the relevant stakeholders. Key amongst them are an expanded access to pay points, access to the various media channels to aggressively sensitize and promote the subject of students loan repayment amongst the citizens and collaborations that promote and support other equally important student’s related programs and activities.
For today’s event we invited several organised groups including Representatives of Students Bodies, Ghana Employers Association, Ghana Bar Association, Ghana Association of Bankers, SONSET, Association of Spare Parts dealers, Sachet water producers, and other key Government Institutions.
All these representatives have been invited for very good reasons. I believe some of them may have asked themselves “what do we have to do with student’s loan?. Well a lot. The informal is one of the fastest growing sectors of Ghana’s economy; the sector together with the private sector consumes a large number of the students that are trained in the various tertiary institutions across the country. It is important to note that all Ghanaian tertiary students studying in Ghana qualify to take the students loan. The students loan is therefore disbursed to the public and private tertiary institutions, private nursing training institutions, both private and public Colleges of Education. The Students loan is also accessed by many other tertiary institutions across the country including the GIL, GIJ, NAFTI, GIMPA, GISM, and the list goes on. We currently have 112 tertiary institutions on our portfolio and counting. Therefore, to all of you who were wondering why you were invited it may be because there is a high possibility that employees in setup of some of your members may have benefited from the students loan and therefore you have an obligation to support the SLTF recover these loans.
Mr. Chairman, Hon. Minister, Dr/Mrs Ndoum, Hon. Members of Parliament, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. The SLTF supports many households through the support we offer their wards in school. Per the current amounts disbursed our support to beneficiaries when the loans become due can range from the low end of about GH2,986 to highest end of about GH18,242. These amounts are significant contributions made by tax-payers in Ghana to support many more Ghanaian students attain some form of higher education. Therefore, for us at the SLTF ensuring that the Students Loan are disbursed on time is as important to us as recovering the loans when they become due.
We are of the view that beneficiaries have been empowered by travelling this very important milestone, we also believe that the beneficiaries are now equipped to join the world of work in the public, private or the informal sectors and therefore capable for paying these loans.
The students loan in Ghana is a very special facility available only to a privileged group of citizens. The Students Loan is a social intervention that still attracts an interest rate of only 12% in an era when even the Bank of Ghana base rate is 21%. It is the only facility that entitles its beneficiaries to commerce repayment two years after they have completed school; furthermore, it is a facility that is continuously exploring innovative ways to make its repayment comfortable and convenient. Our clients after enjoying all these must take their repayment obligations to the Fund seriously. Repaying ones student’s loan is not only because it’s a legal contract but also because it is a moral and social responsibility with the tax payers in Ghana.
The Students loan for which myself a proud beneficiary is designed to promote, protect, support and ensure equity in its distribution.
Globally and in Ghana, over the last two decade the trends in financing tertiary education has rapidly transformed. Rich and not so rich nations have cost sharing arrangements in place. These costs sharing dynamics are constantly tilting more and more from being heavily skewed towards Governments alone to being a shared responsibility between Governments and households depending on a country’s financial capacity.
In Ghana, the students’ loan scheme has been established to support households meet their part of such cost and to repay over a period of up to 10years.
In the last 9 years the Students Loan Trust Fund alone has supported over 68,000 Ghanaian students with a student’s loan. Of these amounts some 7% have completed repaying their loans, another 50% is in their repayment stage and the rest are still be trained or are not yet due. A repayment partnership like todays will increase the repayment options available to beneficiaries of the Students Loan.
We are happy to have the services of GN Bank as an addition to other partner banks because GN Bank has a corporate culture that is tailor made to meet not only people with fat account balances but also people with small or zero account balance. The young graduate may not start with a fat account but with the right financial support and customer service can become the fat account holder. We are optimistic that having increased the options for repayments loan beneficiaries who walk into any of the numerous pay points will enjoy improved customer service and if not can decide only to repay their loans at pay point where they are treated like VVIP clients.
Mr Chairman, Hon. Minister, Dr/Mrs Ndoum, distinguished ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you all for coming and remember to help spread the GOOD NEWS.