The Fiji Times »TELS loan repayment plans doomed – Biman
Economy Ministry’s plan to negotiate with financial institutions to provide loans to students to pay off their state loans is an ‘election gimmick doomed to failure’, says Federation Party leader national, Professor Biman Prasad.
He said this while responding to recent revelations made by the Director General of the Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Service (TSLS), Hasmukh Lal, that they were in contact with the ministry and were working with financial institutions, especially agencies. credit to provide student loans. they could take advantage of their 50% incentive.
Professor Prasad said the government should suspend all loan repayments from the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS) for the next five years until the economy improves sufficiently.
“If the government can justify its huge portfolio of debt by saying it got long-term loans on easy terms for up to 40 years, it’s only fair that our financially challenged students, young graduates and their parents are granted at least five one-year repayment holidays,” he said.
“It is an election gimmick that is doomed because it will not save TELS from failing to implement its policy or help students in financial difficulty in any way.”
He asked the government how students could get loans from financial institutions to repay TELS loans when they did not have meaningful employment.
“Who will guarantee their loans?
“Will it be the government or will parents, guardians or those who have already signed the initial TELS loan guarantees be asked to provide sureties/collateral to financial institutions?
“The reality of the matter is that TELS has been hopelessly managed.”
Professor Prasad said the FijiFirst government needed to understand that despite incentivizing loan forgiveness between 10 and 50 per cent depending on the amount of the loans and the time taken to repay the loans four years ago in the 2018 budget- 2019, refunds were not forthcoming.
“It was also an election year.
“So after the colossal failure of this election gimmick, which left students now owing TELS $571 million, the government concocted another gimmick, hoping it could fool students, their parents, their guardians or those who guaranteed the loans.
“The government must swallow its pride and accept that the so-called Bainimarama boom through 2018 has created new jobs, but not meaningful, decent jobs, matching skills and qualifications.”
Professor Prasad said it would take at least five years for the economy to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic and “the mismanagement of the economy by this government”.
“Therefore, any incentive designed to increase the financial burden on students, their parents or guardians will be highly counterproductive.”
Questions addressed to Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on this subject remained unanswered at the time of going to press.