PLANS are underway for the beneficiaries of the Higher Education Students' Loans Board (HESLB), who are repaying their loans to check and get their balance via mobile phones, a move aiming at facilitating service delivery and reduce complaints.
HESLB Executive Director Abdul-razaq Badru revealed this recently, when he together with other top officials of the board, visited the Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited—the publishers of Daily News, Sunday News, HabariLeo, Habari-Leo Juma pili and SpotiLeo—in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Badru pointed out that the goal was to help the beneficiaries, who were repaying their loans to reduce challenges of having to travel long distances and stand on queues to enquire about their loan balance.
He noted that the initiative would complement the mobile loan repayment system introduced earlier this year.
"With this system beneficiaries can easily repay their loans via mobile phones and in the long run the plan will help them to be aware of the loan balance and meet their obligations," said Mr Badru.
Mr Badru noted that HESLB had further embarked on a strategy to strengthen its information communication system (ICT), which had helped the board to integrate its operations with other key government institutions in accessing information and tracking defaulters.
The institutions include the Immigration Service Department, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and National Identification Authority (NIDA), among others.
He cited an example of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA), whose infrastructure had been very helpful to the board in verifying information on death, birth and residence of loan applicants during selection and allocation.
According to him, an improved system has better positioned HESLB in enhancing optimisation and business re-engineering, while promoting the sustainability of the revolving fund.
"The goal is to have in place a real-time data sharing network to support dayto- day operations.
Once we have in place a full-fledged system, the board can be able to hold talks with the private sector - the employers of the majority of the labour force," he said.
HESLB Loans Allocation and Disbursement Director, Dr Veronica Nyahende, urged the students’ loan beneficiaries to ensure their loans were repaid immediately after graduation.
Dr Nyahende noted that incompliance would subject the beneficiary to a 10 per cent penalty for violating loan regulations.
For his part, Loan Repayment and Recovery Director Ignatus Oscar called upon the beneficiaries, who had not started repaying their loans on the ground that they had no formal employment to present themselves to HESLB and be advised what to do.
"Out of the 163,000 beneficiaries who are repaying their loans, 16,000 of them are not employed...If they come to us, we will advise them how to repay their loans," noted Mr Oscar