SLB guarantors needed no more

Students applying for loans at the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) will no longer need a guarantor as the Government has removed the longstanding requirement.

Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke yesterday indicated that, effective April 1 this year, the SLB will no longer ask applicants to find guarantors to access loans to study at the tertiary level.

Clarke said the removal of the requirements for guarantors to be provided for applicants who are wards of the state in the 2023-2024 fiscal year led to an increase from 46 who applied during the previous financial year to 98 this fiscal year.

Last year, in the 2023-24 Budget, we removed the requirements for guarantors to be provided for applicants from PATH [Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education] households. Since we lifted the requirement for guarantors, within the last 12 months, the number of PATH beneficiaries accessing the SLB jumped from 192 in the previous year to 547 and the year is not yet finished. An increase of 185 per cent,” Clarke said.

Taking a swipe at Opposition Leader Mark Golding, who had said a People’s National Party Government would remove the requirement for guarantors, Clarke quipped that while persons spoke about the policy change, the current administration was implementing it.

He said low income applicants would benefit from 4,200 grants in the sum of $60,000 each.

The finance minister also announced that the Government was moving to introduce unemployment insurance to Jamaicans.

Clarke indicated that eligible employees would be registered and included in an unemployment insurance scheme.

He said employees who contribute to the National Insurance Scheme would be automatically included in unemployment insurance with the requisite obligations and benefits.

“We are now at the point of implementation and within the first quarter of the financial year we expect to sign a US$20-million loan agreement with the World Bank where they will provide the Ministry of Labour and Social Security with the technical support to, among many other things, implement unemployment insurance in Jamaica,” Clarke said.

Written by [email protected] as published in the Jamaica Gleaner.

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