The Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) says it will resume publishing the names of beneficiaries who have refused to pay back their loans this month.
It said it had been able to trace a number of borrowers who were in employment but were yet to settle their indebtedness to the Trust fund.
Also, the SLTF has warned it would go ahead and prosecute the culprits once they failed to take steps to honour their obligations.
The Chief Executive Officer of the SLTF, Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah, gave the hint yesterday during a courtesy call on the Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey.
The call was to officially congratulate the Editor on his appointment and also seek the support of the Daily Graphic for its educational and recovery campaign.
Mr Yeboah said the organisation had been working with the Daily Graphic and that it was a continuous process.
“We are here to congratulate you and also talk about the SLTF and the things that we are doing. You have been supportive in our educational and recovery drive. This visit also seeks to strengthen the working relationship.
“The SLTF is in the process of continuously engaging Ghanaians on the no-guarantor system to expand access to education to the most vulnerable,” the SLTF CEO said.
Mr Yeboah explained that the plan to publish the list of defaulters formed part of the activities of the repayment month, May, set aside by the SLTF to educate students on the repayment of their loans.
The SLTF, he indicated, had sought advice from the Attorney-General’s Department which had given it the go-ahead with the plan in accordance with the Students Loan Trust Fund Act, 2011, Act 820.
“Our Act empowers us to publish the photos and other details of some of our worst borrowers,” he emphasised.
The SLTF CEO further explained that after graduation, the SLTF kept reminding borrowers through text messages, letters and other means on the need to pay back loans they had taken while in school; however many of them had ignored all the follow-up efforts to get them to pay back.
Through its activities during the recovery and repayment month, the SLTF, he said, was hoping to recover about GH¢50 million, adding that borrowers could go to the bank to pay as well as make payment electronically through mobile money, among other avenues.
Mr Yeboah said there was an opportunity for borrowers to negotiate a payment arrangement with the SLTF, adding that “so if we don’t hear from the borrower making any attempt to pay for the period the loan travels, the law mandates us to recover through legal means.”
He said the SLTF would start with the publication of 40 names of persons indebted to the Trust fund, adding that the repayment was critical to supporting other students to benefit.
The month of May, he indicated, had been set aside to educate and step up the campaign to let borrowers know that it was their civic responsibility to pay back the loan they took when they were in school.
“Sometimes, we need to remind people on how to pay and where to go to make payment, so we use this month to step up our engagements on all the media platforms, both traditional and social media, to talk to Ghanaians about the loan repayment and also to sensitise people about the no-guarantor programme which was rolled out in June last year,” he explained.
Graphic there to help
Mr Yartey pledged the support of the Daily Graphic in assisting the SLTF to realise its objectives as it had proved to be an efficient and reliable medium to reach out to the general public.
He said as a national media organisation with extensive reach and wide coverage, it had the space in both the hard copy and the digital space.
“It is something we have been doing for over seven decades. It is about getting the overall government agenda achieved, and so we are ready to support you in that regard,” Mr Yartey assured.
Procedure for recovery of loan
The SLTF was established in December 2005 under the Trustee Incorporation Act 1962, Act 106.
The objectives of the Trust Fund are to provide financial resources for the sound management of the Trust for the benefit of students and to help promote and facilitate the national ideals enshrined in Article 25 and 38 of the 1992 Constitution.
Under the SLTF Act 820, the procedure for recovering the loans have also been stated to include the following:
26. (1) Where a borrower defaults in repaying the loan for six cumulative months, the Board shall send notice of demand to the borrower to make payment in a manner provided under subsection (2).
(2) A copy of the demand notice shall be sent or delivered to the borrower or the guarantor at their last known place of abode or address and published twice in a state-owned daily newspaper.
(3) If the borrower or the guarantor fails to repay or make satisfactory arrangement to repay the loan in accordance with the demand notice, the Board shall publish the name of the borrower or the guarantor in a state-owned daily newspaper.
(4) The publication shall state the amount owed and demand that the amount owed should be paid within one month after the publication, and that failure to do so is an admission of the debt and it shall be deemed that judgement on the amount in addition to costs of five per cent of the debt has been entered by a Circuit Court against the borrower and guarantor.
(5) The Board shall without any further notice to the borrower or guarantor proceed to execute or enforce the judgement for the recovery of the loan or any balance then outstanding in an appropriate manner.