University students will now be able to be notified on the status of their HELB loan application following the signing into law of the Higher Education Loans Board (Amendment) Act 2015 by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.
The Bill, which was among six other Bills passed by Parliament, stipulates that if HELB rejects any loan application, they have to explain why and give proof. The new amendments also make it mandatory for the board to give money to all Government-sponsored students in public universities.
All regular Government-sponsored undergraduate students in the universities shall upon application of the loan be entitled to an award of the loan unless the Board is able to provide documentary evidence of student’s ability to pay fees without the loan,” reads the HELB (Amendment) Bill 2015.
In another amendment, loan beneficiaries will pay the four per cent annual interest charged on the loan only after getting a job. However, they will have to swear an affidavit every year confirming their inability to pay.
PRESIDENT UHURU SIGNS INTO LAW 7 BILLS
The other Bills that the president signed into law include the Court of Appeal (Organization and Administration) Act 2015, the High Court Organization and Administration Act 2015 and the Magistrates Court Act 2015. Others are the Higher Education Loans Board (Amendment) Act 2015, the Kenya National Examination Council (Amendment) Act 2015, the Tax Procedure Act 2015 and National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2015.
The High Court, Court of Appeal and Magistrates Courts Amendment Acts are acts that will re-organize the judiciary, making it more efficient and responsive to the needs of Kenyans while the Kenya National Examination Council (Amendment) Act 2015 formalizes KCPE and KCSE examination fees waiver by the Government.
The National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act 2015 now gives Members of Parliament (MPs) control of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF)
The Bill recognizes the Constituency as a platform for identification, performance and implementation of National Government functions.
The Fund will consist of not less than 2.5 per cent of National Government share of revenue pursuit to Section 218 of the Constitution.
THE TAX PROCEDURE ACT
The Tax Procedure Act is to give effect to the Excise Duty Act, which was introduced as part of the tax reform agenda inorder to streamline laws relating to the collection of revenue and simplify the way in which government collects revenue from Kenyans, thus making the process of paying taxes more efficient and predictable, thereby easing the cost of doing business in the country.
The Excise Duty Bill is an improvement on the current Customs and is expected to increase excise duty revenues.