Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

COVID-19 reprieve for Student Loan Bureau borrowers in Jamaica

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

Borrowers of the Student’ Loan Bureau (SLB) will get a three-month reprieve on their repayments as the country braces for the economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The announcement was made by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, during his closing presentation of the Budget Debate in Parliament yesterday, March 24.

Clarke said the institution will defer all payments – the principal and interest – due for April to June.

What’s more, the SLB will waive all late fees for the same period, he said.

“The economic impact of this pandemic is even harder to bear if you have loans to pay.”

– Finance Minister Nigel Clarke

He added that financial institutions have already begun similar discussions with their customers to “defer principal payments, restructure loans and waive fees. This is good and needs to continue.”

The Finance Minister said the move will not result in losses to the SLB but will have an impact on cash-flow due to the timing difference of payments. However, this impact will be absorbed by the SLB’s resources, he said.

Previously, the Minister had announced an extension to the moratorium repayment period for students upon graduation. They will now have 14 months to begin payment instead of the six months that existed prior.