The Government of Papua New Guinea has announced the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) and Applications will open in April of 2020 and student school fee loans will be accessible by eligible students from Semester 2 of 2020 academic year and on wards and per the media press release by the Department of Higher Education, Research Science & Technology. Read full media statement on this post.DHERST Announces Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Will Start In Semester 2, 2020
According the DHERST press released on HELP, two important requirements or pre-requisite that tertiary students must have before they apply for the HELP Loans are the following:
- National Identification Card (NID)
- Tax Identification Number (TIN)
PNG National Identification Card
The PNG National Identification Card is issued by the PNG Civil and Identity Registration office. The PNG Civil and Registry office is the statutory mandated entity responsible for registration of vital civil events such as Birth, Marriage, Death, child adoption, including in cases of divorces and adoption of children by foster parents. The office is under the Department of Community Development & Religion under the Corporate and Regulatory Services Division of the Department.
Student NID Registration for HELP
The NID Issuance Manager Leroy Kwa has told the National Newspaper that the PNG Civil and Identity Registration Office has established a priority desk and starting accepting students application for their NID Cards and birth certificates at the NID Haus which is Head office located in Waigaini in the National Capital District. The students need to provide their Acceptance Letter from the tertiary institutions.
Director General Noel Mobiha said, his office is working the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) to finalize a memorandum of partnership (MOP). Government has made a decision to implement the HELP program managed by DHERST and it is the job of the PNG Civil and Registration Office to issue each student their NID Card and birth certificates will be given to students who are above 18 years of age. Students below the age of 18 will be given only their birth certificates.
Their main focus centers are Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Kokopo, Goroka and perhaps Wewak. That is because the office believe most of the students come around from that area.
The Director General urged the students who have been accepted to go to universities and colleges to go to a nearest NID office to register. There are currently 17 fixed civil registry offices in the provincial capital towns.
For those students who have applied, he assured the students that their applications will be fast tracked..
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Tax Identification Number (TIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC). The reason why TIN was mandatory document for application for the HELP program is because, the government or the DHERST wants to know where the students who are beneficiary of the HELP are employed in the formal sector so that it can start collecting repayments. This is because the government has learned from its lesson. When it first trialled the loan system in 1999 and it failed. (This is separate post about some of the possible factors that led to it’s failure).PNG Government Introduces Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) For Tertiary Studies In 2020
Currently, there are two ways in which an Individual can apply for a TIN.
TIN Through Employer
Firstly, a TIN is automatically allocated to every employee in an organization that pays to tax. This is part of the income tax law. So, once an individual is employed in an organization, he or she is taxed and tax is remitted to the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) under that TIN. IRC then registers the tax receipt under his/her TIN. This helps, in the event of the employee asking for Tax Rebate (eg School Fees) and etc, they can track the employees tax records and process their claims.
TIN by Registration With IRC
Second option is by Registration. This normally happens when a individual registers are business name and wants to operate as Sole Trader. This means, IRC will a TIN as Individual and he/she can trade using that business name. The Banks like Kina, Wesptpac and BSP requires the TIN when an individual wants to open a bank Account under his/her business name to trade. TIN certificate from IRC and the Business Name Registration Incorporation Certificate from Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) are required by banks. When a business name is registered with IRC as a Sole Trader-the owner will not charge and collect Value Added Tax (VAT) from their customers. They will be trading and doing transactions until the annual turnover of the business is around K250,000.00. Then IRC will ask the owner to register for VAT and pay all the relevant taxes such as employee income tax, VAT charges and etc. If the company or business is going already making an annual turnover of K250,000.00 then the owner can be taxed on investment earnings.
For all relevant taxation related information, check the IRC website www.irc.gov.pg
TIN in Relation to HELP
Registration for TIN will help DHERST to locate the recipient from both being employed formally in an organization or engaged in private business. What remains to be cleared are the terms and conditions of the HELP and by-laws to govern the payment of the loan to students and how they will repay. For example, what will be the % percentage deduction etc. IRC is not coming out public on how they can assist in getting the students to apply for TIN in relation to HELP.
Note: studyinpng.com has been following this important development and as details get released, we will keep posting here for the updates.