Ignore university loans repayments, UPND tells graduates
By Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) has told the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt universities graduates to ignore the bursaries loan repayments call by government.
In a statement on Tuesday UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka said it was inconceivable that Patriotic Front government was demanding educational loans repayment from graduates who were not employment due to jobs freeze.
He said the PF cabinet ministers who remained in office illegally after dissolution of parliament 2016 should be pursued to pay back the money.
Katuka said First Lady, Esther Lungu can afford tuition fees under distance learning at UNZA but the majority people could not because the PF had caused poverty by failing to create the jobs they promised the youths.
“Ministers and PF MPs can also afford to take their children abroad to expensive universities yet poor Zambians have no money to pay for their children at local universities. Let Edgar Lungu stop unnecessary journeys and save the money he is using for travelling with his entourage to sponsor poor students,” said Katuka.
He added that Lungu over borrowed money from everywhere and abused it.
“We warned them against borrowing for wrong purposes, they did not listen. Most of the PF surrogates called us bitter, now they will eat their bitter pill of Kaloba, balalipila!For us in the UPND, education is an investment and not a cost as the PF takes it. When we are given a mandate, we shall ensure we cancel all the loans the PF are giving students. We shall ensure we offset all those loans the students have obtained. We shall provide free education. Lungu has no vision for this country. Am sure Zambians have now proven that,” he said
Katuka mentioned that Lungu and his ministers should have morality by responding to issues affecting the people responsibly.
“Ministers who remained in office illegally have not paid even after the court made a ruling. We would like to urge the graduates from these two universities never to pay the said loans. Why does Lungu want poor jobless youths to pay when his own ministers have refused to pay what they illegally obtained from the people of Zambia? This is not fair. We must have a human heart,” he added.
Government is projecting to collect K12 million by December this year from loan recoveries owed by 4,000 former students of three public universities.
The estimated 4,000 students currently employed by government are from the University of Zambia – UNZA, Copperbelt and Robert Makasa Universities.
Higher education loans and scholarships director Ireen Chirwa said her department was approaching employers starting with government and quasi government institutions regarding the recoveries.
Chirwa told ZNBC News that those in the informal sector will be traced using various agencies like the Zambia Revenue Authority -ZRA.
“Those outside the country will be found using the immigration department while those running entrepreneurial firms will be tracked through Patents and Companies Registration Agency-PACRA- using national identifies like the National Registration Cards and bank details,” said Chirwa
She said ex-students in the diaspora will be required to approach various Zambian missions dotted all over the world.
Chirwa has since appealed for goodwill and cooperation from the ex-students of the targeted universities.