Dodoma. Members of Parliament have advised the government to create a separate budgetary vote for the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB).
Debating the education ministry’s budget that was tabled on Monday by Prof Joyce Ndalichako MPs from both the ruling party and the opposition said separating the budgetary resources of the HESLB from those of the ministry of Education will not only give the board some sort of independence but will also give a clear picture of the Education ministry’s development budget most of which goes to HESLB.
The Parliamentary Committee for Social Services was the first to make the proposal when it tabled its review of the budget.
“For the umpteenth time, the committee proposes that the loans board gets its own vote, which would make all the difference in as far as budgetary issues are concerned,’’ said committee deputy chairman Juma Nkamia in Parliament on Monday.
In her budget speech Prof Ndalichako said the government has set aside Sh863 billion for development budget in the financial year 2019/2020 out which Sh450 billion will go to pay for students’ loans.
Ms Suzan Lymo the shadow Education minister, her alternative budget speech, said lumping together the HESLB funds with those of the development distorts the real picture of the development budget.
“When we hear that Sh800 billion has been allocated for development projects we are really impressed until we realise that almost 60 per cent of it goes to pay for students loans. Only a paltry 40 per cent of the money goes to the actual development projects. It is time to create a separate vote for students’ loans,” Ms Lyimo said in her speech on Monday.
Prof Ndalichako asked for Sh1.4 trillion for the entire ministry of Education for the financial year 2019/2020.
The HESLB’s budget for the next financial year will be a five per cent increase from the Sh427.5 billion of 2018/19 fiscal year.
HESLB is expected to enroll 6,000 loan beneficiaries in the coming financial year.
Debating the Education budget, Special Seats MP Yosepher Komba (Chadema) also concurred with the Committee and the Opposition camp in Parliament by saying that it was time the government created a separate vote for the loans board.