Student loans agency targets driving licences to recover cash

Defaulters will have to repay their loans or commit to pay before they could be allowed to renew driving licences.

Tuesday February 23 2016

Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) CEO Charles Ringera speaks during a press conference on February 4, 2016. Helb has struck a deal with National Transport and Safety Authority to force loan defaulters repay their loans first or commit to pay before their driving licences are renewed. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) CEO Charles Ringera speaks during a press conference on February 4, 2016. Helb has struck a deal with National Transport and Safety Authority to force loan defaulters repay their loans first or commit to pay before their driving licences are renewed. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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Kenyans who have defaulted on their loans from the Higher Education Loans Board will not be allowed to renew their driving licences this year.

This is after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) struck a deal with Helb that will see defaulters repay their loans first or commit themselves to doing so before the licences are renewed.

“We recently compared driving licence holders and Helb defaulters. Surprisingly, we matched 8,000 records of driving licence holders who are not repaying.

“We have agreed with the NTSA that one will not renew a driving licence this year if he or she is a defaulter,” Helb Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said in a statement.

SHARING DATA

Mr Ringera said the board is also currently sharing data with the Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, the National Social Security Fund and the Immigration Department.

He said this should, however, be anchored in law.

“We want our Act reformed to help address the myriad of challenges we face. We want a more progressive law that will allow us unfettered access to credit information or tracing of loanees,” he added.

Mr Ringera said the board had started a comprehensive programme to recover money from beneficiaries who are now based outside the country through the appointment of “Helb brand ambassadors” and private debt collectors, particularly in the US, the UK and South Africa.

“We tested this in September in the US and within a month, we collected over Sh20 million.”

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