Loan facilities are provided so the beneficiaries are able to proceed with a venture and not be hindered by the lack of funds.
To make such facilities sustainable, it is incumbent on the beneficiaries to pay back such loans according to the agreement governing such assistance.
Unfortunately, sometimes after a facility has been established to assist people in a certain category, it has collapsed along the way due to the huge indebtedness left by earlier beneficiaries.
Just last week, the Chief Executive Officer of the Students Loan Trust Fund, Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah, disclosed to the Daily Graphic that about 20,000 former beneficiaries were yet to settle their indebtedness to the Trust Fund after the completion of their studies in tertiary institutions in the country.
The students, who are owing GH¢44 million, are part of 55,000 borrowers due to repay their loans.
While it is great news that out of the number, 35,000 have started repaying, the defaulting 20,000, by their action, are heavily impacting on the sustainability of the fund created to aid students to complete their education and become of service to the nation.
While we are aware the SLTF has embarked on a recovery plan to ensure that all debtors settle their obligations to the fund, the importance of the defaulters repaying their loans cannot be overemphasized and things must not get to a head with loans such as this for fund managers to look for ways to retrieve money owed.
This does not speak well of the students who have benefitted, gone ahead to complete their education with some now working with successful companies but are by their attitude preventing other students from getting assistance for their tertiary education.
Of course, the Daily Graphic is aware that it is not all students who land jobs shortly after their tertiary education and some actually go on for years without employment. We need to ensure that the tens of thousands of students who depend on the loan facility to finance their tertiary education every year are not denied because earlier beneficiaries have declined to pay back.
It is good news that the SLTF has been quite proactive in its recovery efforts and taking steps to clear its loan book. It is commendable that the trust has found innovative and convenient ways for defaulters to pay up.
The Daily Graphic encourages employers who are bound by law to deduct loan payments at source on behalf of the SLTF to be up and doing so no defaulter finds a hiding place to shirk his or her responsibility to the fund.
We also urge the debtors to use the new and more convenient payment platforms, including the recently introduced Students Loan Mobile App by the fund to make good their indebtedness if they find the old ways of payment inconvenient.
We laud the Trust Fund for temporarily suspending the prosecution of loan defaulters due to job losses and hardships suffered by some borrowers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, we encourage defaulters to prevent the publication of their names in the dailies due to their failure to pay up on time. There is no excuse for delay, especially when the SLTF has asked borrowers who are having difficulties in repaying their loans to come forward and engage them to avoid publication of their photographs and details in the national media, as well as prosecution in the near future.
We owe it to posterity to ensure that the Trust Fund, established in December 2005 as part of reforms to make accredited tertiary education more accessible to the majority of qualified Ghanaian students, stands the test of time.