With tens of thousands of Guyanese yet to repay the University of Guyana’s student loan agency, the Finance Ministry has collaborated with one of Guyana’s leading Internet service providers GTT to make the process of repayment much easier.
Since the commencement of the programme in 1994, the Finance Ministry, through the student loan agency, has so far seen an issuance of some 28,936 loans of which 20,301 are delinquent. This amount has cost Government almost $10 billion over the 23-year period.
Among the cries of past and continuing students is that apart from the lack of financial resources to honour their obligation, there are very few payment options available.
On Monday, while speaking at the signing ceremony at the UG’s loan office, Finance Minister Winston Jordan dubbed the initiative an important milestone for the agency which will now accept repayment through the GTT app Mobile Money Guyana (MMG).
“I am pleased to announce that the student loan agency has partnered with GTT’s MMG to offer past and continuing students a new option to repay their loans. This new option is fast and secure. All it requires is a GTT handset and an MMG account. Mobile payments are quite en vogue; so, I expect many persons will make use of this service,” Jordan told the small gathering.
The service has no financial cost for Government, but borrowers will be charged a $100 service fee as is paid for every other service offered by Mobile Money.
GTT’s Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd said his company has been moving to raise the bar in almost every facet of the technological environment even as it sought to elevate the quality of life of several generations of Guyanese.
“I firmly believe that every Guyanese should benefit, as GTT enriches lives through technology. That’s innovation, that’s Mobile Money and that’s why we exist,” Nedd said.
The Mobile Money app offers a payment platform that provides an affordable way of conducting business without the use of physical cash. It is known as a convenient tool for paying utility bills, cable bills along with hire purchase instalments to businesses among other things.
For students desirous of using this payment plan, a simple GTT handset is required with the app installed.
Meanwhile, Minister Jordan said the new payment solution formed part of the massive reforms Government has implementing to reshape the student loan agency. Among recent appointments, he said, have been a new director and administrative manager. He highlighted that the Finance Ministry has added more loan officers and would be filling additional vacancies for loan officers, a lawyer and accountant in the near future.
Jordan said the agency was tasked with doing all it could to ensure that funding remained available to future borrowers, and as such, the recalcitrance and disinterest that were inherent in the unacceptably large delinquent portfolio must be stopped, he said.
“Students, graduates, and guarantors have to work together to reverse this situation. The Government has shown its willingness to be engaged and has already provided the first steps,” Jordan noted.