By: JOHN NGIRACHU
President Kenyatta has rejected a law by the National Assembly that would have compelled the Higher Education Loans Board to fund all government-sponsored undergraduate students.
President Kenyatta rejected all the proposed amendments to the law arguing that it would be discriminatory to give loans to all regular students unless Helb is able to prove that they can afford fees without the loan.
“Further, even if the proposal were legally tenable, its sustainability would require substantial financial support from the National Treasury, which is hardly feasible given the current budgetary constraints,” said the President.
He said this in a memorandum to House Speaker Justin Muturi.
A proposed change to shield jobless graduates from paying penalties on Helb loans by having them swear affidavits was also turned down.
The President argued that the law currently gives the board powers to impose penalties and deter laxity or default in loan repayment.
“The proposed amendment is clearly objectionable as it will, no doubt, weaken the board’s loan recovery mechanisms. This is because loanees will no longer feel pressured to complete their studies and enter into gainful employment so they can start servicing their loans,” said the President.
He argued that placing the responsibility of verifying loanees’ assertions on Helb would be difficult as the graduate could be in informal employment or working outside the country.
Helb described the Bill as populist and unless Mr Kang’ata can rally 233 MPs to support it, it is dead in the water.