Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has continued to charm the youth in his quest of popularizing the Azimio la Umoja campaign.
Speaking in Trans Nzoia County on Saturday, November 20, Raila promised to offer free education to students from nursery level to the university in a bid to guarantee universal access to all.
In order to achieve this, he pointed out that he would seal the loopholes within the government mainly attributed to graft, and direct the funds towards the project.
"Every child born in this country will have an equal opportunity from nursery, primary secondary to university. The funds that get looted belong to you, hence I promise to close all those loopholes and get the required funds to cater for this plan," he stated.
He also enticed his supporters with the promise of free loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
"Those who want to start their businesses will get loans from the government and will not pay anything till the lapse of seven years so that their businesses get to flourish."
“The businesses will be protected by the government such that they are not unfairly targeted by the tax authority,” he stated.
The former Premier also revealed that the loans would be offered with a grace period of seven years, during which the beneficiaries would be monitored to ensure they seize financial freedom.
Raila, has in the past assured university students that they would not pay back the education loans should he ascend to power in 2022 as he would convert the loans into grants.
"I said that when we take over the government, we will convert the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) into a grant,” said Raila.
Justifying his pledge, the opposition leader explained that every child born in the country, irrespective of the socio-economic status of their parents, will get equal opportunities from the nursery, primary to university education.
“That's why I am saying today when I get to power, HELB will be a grant, not a loan,” Raila told the students.
The plan was however, debunked by HELB CEO Charles Ringera who stated that the government is already running a Ksh43 billion grant through the Universities Fund (UF).
"This is money is paid to students in universities through the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) and they do not pay it back," Ringera explained.