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Tucta demands refund for student loans beneficiaries

Wednesday March 01 2017
pic Tucta demand refund

Tucta President Tumaini Nyamhokya told reporters that his organisation was aware of the amendments made to Higher Education Students’ Loans Board Act of 2004 last year that imposes 15 per cent deductions to loans beneficiaries.

Dar es Salaam. The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to refund graduates who benefited from higher education students’ loans before a law to impose 15 per cent deduction was passed, the extra 7 per cent they were deducted in their February salaries.

The union has also supported efforts by the Teachers Trade Union (TTU) to take the government accountable over teachers arrears which amounts to Sh800 billion.

Tucta President Tumaini Nyamhokya told reporters that his organisation was aware of the amendments made to Higher Education Students’ Loans Board Act of 2004 last year that imposes 15 per cent deductions to loans beneficiaries.

However, he said, the amendment is supposed to affect higher learning students who were enrolled in 2016/17 academic year instead of what has happened now in which case even those who graduated before 2016/17 have been affected.

After the expiry of the ultimatum, Mr Nyamhokya said, Tucta will hold a meeting to assess the situation.

Mr Nyamhokya said employees’ benefits have been subjected to excessive deductions, which amount to 57 per cent of one’s salary.

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He noted that an employee is deducted 30 per cent as Pay As You Earn (Paye); 10 per cent as National Social Security Fund (NSSF) contribution, 15 per cent as Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) and 2 per cent as his/her contribution to trade unions.

By subjecting workers to such deductions, said Mr Nyamhokya, the government was violating labour laws which state clearly that an employee shouldn’t be deducted more than one third of his/her salary.

Mr Nyamhokya revealed that Tucta is supporting the decision by TTU to declare a labour dispute with the government after it failed to settle teachers’ arrears running into billions.

Reached for comments, TTU President Gratian Mukoba told The Citizen that his organisation met with the Minister in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr George Simbachawene, in Dodoma, who gave the assurance that the government was working on their concerns.

Efforts to reach Mr Simbachawene and his deputy, Mr Suleiman Jaffo, proved futile.

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