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University of Nairobi Graduates: HELB is blacklisting its' loanees who default after the 6th year of contract

Cofek has received several complaints about Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) blacklisting unemployed persons who have defaulted on their loans. 

Contacted, the HELB CEO Mr Charles Ringera confirmed that HELB is well within the law (Cap. 213A) to require that all its' loanees repay back their rents after the 6th year, employed or not.

He confirmed that over 68,000 defaulters not paying their respective loans have been blacklisted since HELB is now a member of the Central Bank led Credit Information system. Defaulters names are being passed to the Credit Information Bureau for blacklisting.

Section 17 of the HELB Acy says that where an employer fails to deduct or after deducting any loan repayment from a loanee does not pay such deductions to the Board within the prescribed period, a sum equal to five percent of the total amount of the repayment shall be charged on the employer for each month or part of the month that the repayment remains unpaid. 

It further says that where an employer fails, without reasonable excuse, to notify the Board that he has in his employment a loanee within the specified period that employer shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not less than three thousand shillings for each month or part of the month that he fails to notify the Board of such employment.

Cofek will soon arrange a joint forum with HELB on the matter. In the meantime, we advise all loanees to confirm and regularize their credit status with HELB to avoid being blacklisted to the extent that they will secure credit from banks and financial institutions.

The number of applicants is expected to reach 800,000 by 2015 when the first beneficiaries of the free primary schooling programme come of age to join universities.

To prepare for the increased numbers, Mr Ringera said the board would tighten its recovery strategies as the funds constitute 60 per cent of the money disbursed.

The board collects about Sh220 million per month or Sh2.6 billion a year and Mr Ringera said the target is to recover Sh3 billion this year.

During 2011-12, the board recovered Sh2.5 billion, up from Sh2.3 billion the previous year. 

"I wish to ask you to seek a clarification from HELB on those they are blacklisting as defaulters if it includes those who are servicing their loans monthly as well as those paying the minimum of 1,000 to avoid the 5,000 penalty like myself with no formal jobs. Thank you" - Bett Kipskogei Eliud

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