‘TELS debts will be forgiven’

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Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka being interviewed after the cabinet meeting in Suva. Picture; JONA KONATACI

Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) debts will be forgiven. Deputy Prime Minister and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Viliame Gavoka reiterated this while answering questions from The Fiji Times regarding this issue.

In its first meeting on January 17, Cabinet had considered a submission from Education Minister Aseri Radrodro and agreed for more time to be given to the MOE, the Ministry of Finance and the Solicitor-General’s Office to consider the legal financial implications of the suspension of existing loan repayments and write-off for all outstanding student debts owed to Government, and to bring the necessary legislative and policy amendments to Cabinet.

Cabinet had also agreed that arrangements on TELS would continue for the first semester of this year.

It was also agreed that debt repayment to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) would be deferred until relevant legislations were amended.

While campaigning for the 2022 General Election, SODELPA had promised in its manifesto that student debt under TELS would be forgiven when they come into Government.

“TELS will come to an end,” Mr Gavoka said.

“All debts will be forgiven. That’s a non-negotiable.”

The Fiji Times had reported in July, 2022 that the Government had $581 million in outstanding TELS debt.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Prof Biman Prasad disclosed that the total amount of debt owed was $610m.

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