President John Dramani Mahama has announced an upward review of existing loan rates for tertiary students under the Students Loan Trust.
From the lowest rate of GH¢750 and the highest rate of GH¢1,600, students will now receive GH¢1,000 as minimum and GH¢2,000 as maximum loans under the prevailing Students Loan Trust.
The President also announced the introduction of a new component of the Students Loan Trust known as the Students Loan Plus, which is designed for cash-strapped students.
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With regard to the Students Loan Plus, the President said beneficiaries could access an extra GH¢2,000 in addition to the existing loans.
“Just last Wednesday, I received some good news. The Student Loan Trust Board has reviewed the students loan rates of the Students Loan Trust,” he said to a loud applause from students of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS ) in Ho, when he spoke to them last Wednesday night as part of his campaign tour of the Volta Region.
He explained that those who would access the new component must be certified to be cash-strapped students who could not even pay for their admission fees.
President Mahama recalled how the early stages of the establishment of the university was characterised by mockery of then President J.E.A. Mills by the opposition with some taking pictures of a so-called forest full of grasscutters and publishing them in some newspapers as the university.
He said the lies of the opposition were exposed with the birth of the university.
President Mahama said the early period of UHAS had seen the government concentrating on infrastructure development, adding that emphasis was now going to be on accommodation facilities.
Work was also going to be expedited on the campus roads, he added.
He stated that the formula for the GETFund disbursement had been reviewed and new universities had received additional funding this year, with UHAS alone receiving GH¢9 million.
Making reference to the economy, President Mahama stated that Ghana was making strides economically despite the slowdown of the prices of gold and crude oil.
“Normally if you have two of your principal exports suffering such a deterioration, you will feel this effect in the economy immediately. Yet the economy is showing signs of good health.”
“The deficit continues to come down, inflation continues to reduce and we expect that interest rates would also continue to come down and the cedi would continue to perform well so that people would have a predictable environment to do business”, he told the students.
He said his opponents were creating crisis in the economy when there was none.
The President spoke positively about how the government had kept to spending within the budget this election year.
“I pledged to keep spending during the election year to what has been budgeted for, and I am very happy to announce to you that we are keeping to what was budgeted in this election year. The recent IMF review has confirmed that the government has not been overspending and that revenues are performing well and the economy is stable and doing well,” he added.
President Mahama said the country was going into the era of power security “and we are likely to be a net exporter of power in West Africa”.
He said West African countries had formed a Regional Electricity Market which would sell power to interested countries.
“And so any country that has excess power can put it in the Regional Electricity Market and any country that has a deficit of power can go and buy power. The good thing is that our transmission lines are interconnected”, he said.
Touching on infrastructure, President Mahama said in every part of the country, including the Volta Region, extensive infrastructure development had taken place.
“And so when people make political propaganda to say that a certain region has been left out, it is absolutely pure politics”, he said, adding that in the last three years, the government had invested more than GH¢1 billion in the road sector in the Volta Region.