Government has allocated funds in the next financial year’s budget to kickstart the students’ loan scheme, President Yoweri Museveni announced Thursday.
Without specifying the actual amount, President Museveni said, “In the coming budget, we have earmarked funds to introduce the students’ loan scheme.”
Delivering the State of the Nation address to Parliament Thursday at Kampala Serena Hotel, Museveni said priority will be given to science students. This means that the funds will be available in July, which is the beginning of a new financial year.
Plans to introduce loans for Ugandan university students date back to 1990. Initially, the plan was to give loans to Government-sponsored students to meet their living cost. But consultants hired by the Government recommended that loans with subsidized interest rates be given to the best performing private students.
Student loan schemes have been established in at least 50 countries around the world. In Africa, they exist in Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
In most schemes, students only start paying back once they have graduated and found a job.
Under Article 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, the President is mandated, at the beginning of each Session of Parliament, to deliver to Parliament an address on the State of the Nation.
The State of the Nation address precedes the presentation of the national budget. Finance minister, Maria Kiwanuka will Thursday next week present the budget for 2013/14 financial year.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga briefed the President about the business the House transacted in the last sitting. At 3:25pm, the President took to the podium to deliver the State of the Nation address.
The President said Uganda’s the total disease burden should be reduced to about 80% adding that providing safe water is very crucial. He added that malaria account for 40% -50% of the total death in Uganda efforts to reverse the trend should be expedited.
The president urged the ministry of health to use the many radio FM stations to sensitize the masses about good health living and prevention of diseases.
He said in order to reduce, infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, expectant mothers should be encouraged to deliver in health centers. “I was born in a hospital in Mbarara in 1944 and my sister Dr. Florence Kajubiri was born in 1949,” he said.