By Getrude Matayo
As the pandemic continues to sweep across the country, 25,626 beneficiaries of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) have stopped payments due to pandemic economic hardships that have hurt borrower’s ability to repay.
According to the State’s higher education funder, so far 4.6 billion shillings loan or 16 percent of the 28.5 billion in its active loan book have been affected.
Coronavirus has really affected Kenya, especially businesses. Things have never been the same since the month of March. Businesses have shut down and people have lost their jobs.
This highlights the struggle beneficiaries are facing who were making payments on the strength of their payslips amid.
Charles Ringera, HELB Chief executive said a number of employers and loanees had been offered a moratorium on repayment or downwards review of monthly rates to ease the financial difficulties.
Small Business Enterprises are worried about surviving the current crisis. Some said that business had been hit hard since the introduction of social distancing, lockdown, and curfews on the continent.
According to HELB Chief Executive, so far, HELB has faced a reduction of an estimated 0.8 billion shillings in loan repayments.
Data shows that 347,315 loanees are not yet due for repayment as they are either still students or within the grace period before repayment is due.
Early this month, the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) through its CEO Charles Ringera waived 1,000 shillings compliance certificate fees for non-beneficiaries.
HELB is supposed to be a revolving fund where beneficiaries who have finished their studies pay back the loans to support a fresh group of students.
Beneficiaries are expected to start repaying one year after completing studies and risk backlisting credit reference bureaus over defaulters.