SLB Loan Repayments to be Deducted at Source

first_imgAmendments are to be made to the legislation pertaining to the Students Loan Bureau (SLB), to facilitate deductions at source, to ensure that loans are repaid by borrowers.However, in the interim, employers in the public sector will be authorized to deduct payments from employees who have outstanding loans with the SLB and remit these to the Bureau.This was disclosed by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips,as he opened the 2013/14 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on April 18, under the theme: ‘Restoring Hope – Expanding Opportunity’.“Employers in the private sector are being encouraged to facilitate these deductions from the salaries of their employees as their contribution to the effort to expand opportunities to our young people who are unable to access tertiary education without the help of the SLB,” the Minister added.Dr. Phillips also noted that the recent introduction of a Credit Bureau should help in reducing the high delinquency rate, as the credit worthiness of persons will be recorded for future transactions.Meanwhile, the Minister emphasized that it is critical that tertiary institutions periodically review the types of programmes and courses offered to determine their relevance to the market needs.He said this will assist students in getting jobs on graduation and as such, will be able to repay their loans, so that the demand on government for funding can be reduced.Over the last six years demand for students’ loans has increased, with the number moving from 6,600 in 2007 to 16,600 in 2012, and this is projected to increase to over 20,000 for the upcoming academic year.This increased demand, coupled with the annual increase in tuition costs by tertiary institutions, has resulted in significantly increased pressure on the limited resources of the SLB to meet the growing demand, which is estimated to reach $20 billion in the 2015/16 financial year.Of this amount, inflows of approximately $12 billion will be sourced between now and 2015/16 from the recent increase in Education Tax and from loan repayments.“This will still leave a shortfall of approximately $8 billion for the period,” Dr. Phillips noted.He informed that for the 2013/14 academic year, approximately $4.9 billion is required to fully cover the projected demand, which will be financed by the Education tax and loan inflows from the Caribbean Development Bank.“The SLB is (also) engaged in discussions with private sector financial institutions to induce their participation in funding the demand for tertiary education. These discussions are progressing well and the details are being worked out as to the terms and conditions of the private sector’s participation in this undertaking. Once this is finalized, the SLB will be in a position to determine the extent to which further funding may be available,” Dr. Phillips said.By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporterlast_img read more

Gov’t Committed to Growth of Petrojam

first_img Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government of Jamaica will ensure the continued growth of Petrojam as part of its commitment to the country’s energy security. “We are committed to the refinery upgrade, we will be embarking on a number of initiatives to ensure that the country’s sole refinery continues to operate at the highest standard as it relates to quality products, as it relates to efficiency (and) as it relates to environmental protection,” he said. “Western Jamaica, and in particular Montego Bay, is growing at a very rapid pace and so energy security is critical… today we are actually doing something that will live on for generations. It speaks to sustainability and the fact that Petrojam is here to stay,” he said. Story Highlights Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government of Jamaica will ensure the continued growth of Petrojam as part of its commitment to the country’s energy security.“We are committed to the refinery upgrade, we will be embarking on a number of initiatives to ensure that the country’s sole refinery continues to operate at the highest standard as it relates to quality products, as it relates to efficiency (and) as it relates to environmental protection,” he said.Dr. Wheatley was speaking at the official opening of Petrojam Limited’s new administrative offices in the Montego Bay Freeport on Tuesday (January 9).He welcomed the move by the entity to open a permanent office in the western part of the island.“Western Jamaica, and in particular Montego Bay, is growing at a very rapid pace and so energy security is critical… today we are actually doing something that will live on for generations. It speaks to sustainability and the fact that Petrojam is here to stay,” he said.Director of Petrojam Limited, Harold Malcolm, noted that the opening of the new administrative building marks the culmination of efforts to improve the delivery infrastructure as the entity expands on its product offerings.He noted that the Petrojam terminal in Montego Bay is the major supplier of jet fuel to the Sangster International Airport and “we are constantly exploring ways to improve efficiency and the capacity of fuel distribution in the western section of the island, particularly as it relates to our distribution of ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD).”The new administrative office has been named the ‘Howard Howell Building’ in honour of Petrojam’s first Montego Bay terminal supervisor, who died in November 2011.last_img read more