Kenyans have taken to social media to condemn Education CS Amina Mohammed
for what they are calling as “misguided action” after she announced that police
would now hunt down defaulters of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
Amina Mohammed, who was speaking during the launch of Helb’s 2019-2023
strategic plan on Wednesday said it’s not going to be business as usual as
Helb seeks to recover over 7.2 billion owed by 74,000 defaulters.
“We are also going to partner with our law enforcement agencies to track
down those holding jobs and yet are reluctant to stand up to be counted as
responsible and patriotic citizens who honour their debts,” she said.
Helb lends funds in form of affordable loans, bursaries and scholarship
to students pursuing higher education in recognized institutions, which are
supposed to be repaid once the students get into employment.
Former student leader at the University of Nairobi, Babu Owino,
who is now Embakasi East MP is among those that have condemned the CS for the
pronouncement, saying HELB beneficiaries are defaulting loans due to
“The government must first create jobs before chasing debts. The
question the Kenyan government should be asking is why are 74,000 graduates
defaulting? Majority of them do so out of necessity not by choice. We would all
love to be able to meet all our financial obligations but if faced with a
choice between feeding your family and paying HELB, one will definitely choose
to ensure his/her child sleeps fed,” Babu Owino said.