HELB LOANS

Helb announces plan to lower clearance certificate charges

In Summary

• Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said a new online portal is being developed and once fully implemented, job seekers who never applied for loans from fund will pay far much less for the certificates.

• A petition at the Senate from a group of youth sought an explanation as to why one would pay for the certificate even when they did not benefit from any loan from the fund.

University of Nairobi students engage police during an earlier demonstration over HELB.
University of Nairobi students engage police during an earlier demonstration over HELB.
Image: FILE

Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) is reviewing the amount non-loan job seekers pay to get clearance certificates.

Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said a new online portal is being developed and once fully implemented, job seekers who never applied for loans from fund will pay far much less for the certificates.

“Once we are able to offer this service fully electronically, the cost should substantially come down from the current Sh1,000,” he said.

Helb charges Sh1,000 for the certificates, even for those who did not benefit from the fund.

The board argues it is a service it gives and there a costs incurred in the process.

A petition at the Senate from a group of youth sought an explanation as to why one would pay for the certificate even when they did not benefit from any loan from the fund.

The youth also want charges for clearance certificates from Kenya Revenue Authority, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission be drastically reduced or scrapped for fresh graduates.

Senators concurred and they too want the government to scrap various clearance fees, which are prerequisite for one to be recruited by public bodies.

But Ringera was of the view that the requirement for clearance certificates is not unreasonable or unjustified.

Helb clearance is proof that the prospective candidate has not only honoured their obligation to pay their education loan but that they have reinvested in the education of other Kenyans
HELB CEO Charles Ringera

“For those who did not benefit, the clearance is proof that they do not have a public liability that they are no honouring,” he added.

Helb spent a total of Sh13 billion for the 2018/2019 financial year.

Of the money spent, 57 per cent was funded by the exchequer while 35 per cent was from internally generated sources, which include money from clearance certificates.

“It is the prayer of the board that this strategy remains in force for the board to effectively collect loans to enable other Kenyans pursuing higher education realise their dreams,” Ringera said in his presentation.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja said the fees had become a burden to job seekers, especially those who are fresh from college. “When you put all these charges together, a job seeker needs about Sh6,000 to a apply for a job that is not even guaranteed,” Sakaja said.

Nominated MP Isaac Mwaura said many Kenyan youths seeking recruitment can barely afford the costs of the various certificates required after they leave college.

Senators concurred with Mwaura and agreed that the government should scrap the documents arguing that they are discriminative especially to the countless youths without jobs.

During the sitting, it also emerged that for the last 24 years, Helb has given loans to more than 830, 000 students and disbursed over Sh92 billion in the process.

As at June 30 this year, there were 436 000 mature loans accounts worth Sh52 billion as compared to 396,000 mature loans holding Sh46.9 billion for the 2017/2018 financial year.