Kenyans in Diaspora owe majority of HELB’s Sh30b unpaid loans

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenyans abroad and companies that collected loan remittances on behalf of the Higher Education Loans Board ( HELB) have been cited as groups that did not respond positively to an amnesty to loan defaulters last year

According to the board, companies and individual beneficiaries of HELB loans are cumulatively holding Sh30 billion in unpaid loans. A statement from the ministry of education says Sh13 billion is overdue for repayment while Sh17 billion has not matured.  HELB’s Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera says part of the money is held by private companies who collected loan repayments on behalf of the board but have refused to remit them.

Speaking when he toured HELB’s offices in Nairobi, Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof Jacob Kaimenyi asked private companies holding money they collected on behalf of board to remit them immediately. Prof Kaimenyi also asked past beneficiaries of HELB loans to repay in order to enable the organization re-finance the increasing number of Kenyans seeking loans to finance their university education.  Prof Kaimeny also challenged the board to secure loan repayments from Kenyans who have gone abroad for whatever reason, adding that Kenya’s diaspora community was  remitting in excess of USD 110M monthly with the figures rising month on month.

“I challenge the Board to have clear Diaspora propositions to enable the community repay their loans conveniently through technology and e-commerce,” Prof Kaimenyi emphasised. On his part Ringera said the board was able to recover Sh1.2 billion following an amnesty it extended to the loan defaulters in 2013. The board estimates that 83,543 university graduates have defaulted. Ringera said the HELB was receiving Sh220 million monthly from those who were servicing their loans.

He said the board will soon travel to the UK to engage with Kenyans it helped finance their education, but have not repaid their loans.

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