The government said on Thursday that it was considering the possibility of waiving the interest on outstanding loans by students of the University of Guyana as it seeks to recover outstanding balances.
During a post cabinet media briefing on Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said the administration is hoping it can be generous and find more affordable ways to demand compliance with the repayment of loans.
“We are hoping that we can be generous in the jubilee year… and waive interests and so forth so there are considerations for passing or not insisting on payments,” Trotman said.
A forensic audit was recently conducted at the Government Student Loans Agency which revealed that from the year 1994 to May 2015, some 17,567 or 69.4% of 25,335 student loans were deemed delinquent because students were not honouring their indebtedness.
Loans issued during the audit period (academic years 2011-2012 to 2014-2015) amounted to $1,581,422,277 of which $1,432,669,005 was issued to students at Turkeyen Campus and $148,753,272 issued to students at the Tain Campus.
But less than 10% had repaid their loans and another 5% were repaying.
Trotman said in order to recoup the outstanding balances the government was considering waiving the interest, especially since the country was observing its jubilee independence anniversary.
He assured that this decision is not being taken because of the high profile names of delinquent former students, many of whom are working in the government.
Trotman further explained that Finance Minister Winston Jordan is likely to brief the media in the coming days on the other recommendations proposed by the committee which was set up to examine the forensic audit report.
He did indicate that there were recommendations for a review of the loan agency’s structure and business processes to make it compliant with auditing and accounting frameworks.
There were other recommendations to enable the loan agency to recover outstanding balances on loans.
Trotman said the recommendations are both short and medium term and are aimed at streamlining the agency to better deal with loan applications, guarantees and recouping loans.