Kenyans are decrying high penalties to graduates by the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb), amounting to Ksh5,000 per month.
According to Kenyans who expressed their distaste online, most of the graduates are unemployed and have no source of livelihood, hence penalizing them would be like overburdening them.
Here are some reactions from Twitter.
“Nobody takes Helb loan out of fun. It is poverty that takes people there. This penalty is effectively a tax on poverty. There should be a law to cap the escalation otherwise the levy may be counterproductive and an exercise in futility,” tweeted Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut.
“80% of the Guys I graduated with are unemployed and already in CRB. They also can’t be employed because you apply for a job and they request a HELB compliance certificate. How do you pay for a loan while unemployed? That’s how the youths remain poor,” tweeted Bravin.
Other users felt that the loans should be written off to protect graduates who are not able to pay the money.
“I don’t support this
#CancelHelbPenalties. Actually the entire HELB loans should be written off. Total loan advanced not more than 8B. We have a class looting billions from our economy. We call for total write off instead,” tweeted Asamoh.
Several Kenyans felt that such burdens are leading to depression, which has resulted to escalated number of suicide cases of graduates.
“One is barely 30 years old, already enlisted under CRB, with an accumulated loan plus penalties inclusive of interest rates totaling to half a million.When will he/she ever save, make investments, even marrying will remain a challenge,” opined Pedro Blessing
Currently, graduates owe Helb approximately Ksh7.2 billion.
In February, the Ministry of Education on Wednesday announced that the board will be on a mission to recover the Ksh7.2 billion owed by 74,000 defaulters.
Later on, Helb CEO Charles Ringera said Helb terms didn’t specify that one must secure a job to start repaying the student loan.
“There is nowhere actually in that loan application form we have said, you must get a job before paying, what we say is that finish school, we give one year, and settle down…settling can mean going into business, getting married to a rich family our any other way….” the CEO said.