•Scholars await disbursement
Nigerian students studying abroad on scholarship may start getting their September-December 2020 allowance any time from now as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed the payment of all the mandates emanating from the Federal Ministry of Education.
With this development, education experts said the ball is now in the court of the Nigerian Scholarship Board to ensure immediate disbursement of the funds to the students in their respective countries of study.
The CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, in a response to THISDAY enquiries, said all mandates received from the Ministry of Education had been treated except one.
“The fact is that all mandates received by the CBN from the Federal Ministry of Education have been paid with the exception of one, which was queried. We expect that once the issues raised have been sorted out by FME, that would also be paid,” he stated.
The clarifications confirmed an earlier assurance given by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in an earlier interview with THISDAY.
The minister had told THISDAY that the federal government had not defaulted in the payment of allowances to the scholars abroad, saying: “All Bilateral Education Agreement, BEA, scholarships have been paid from January to August 2020. Documents covering funds for September to December 2020 scholarships were processed and sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on November 19, 2020, for remittance to the BEA countries.”
He, however, blamed the delay in the payment of the students’ allowance on the need to address exchange rate differentials caused by the instability in the nation’s exchange rates in the recent time.
He said: “The issue of exchange rate differential, as a result of fluctuations of the dollar to naira exchange, has also been processed and submitted for approval. I would like to assure you that the federal government is up to date with scholarship payments.”
Some parents were worried that the pressure brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerian students abroad could distract them from their studies if not promptly settled.
A source, for instance, stated that the students have to be financially okay for them to keep safe in the period of the pandemic.
“Now that the CBN said the coast is clear for the remittance, I see no reason why the scholarship board cannot begin the disbursement to these students in Russia, Hungary and other countries,” a parent who preferred anonymity said.