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FG recommences registration of Digital Money Lenders

By Oluyemi Ogunseyin
09 June 2023   |   1:56 pm
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has recommenced the registration of Digital Money Lenders (DMLS) in the country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has recommenced the registration of Digital Money Lenders (DMLS) in the country.

The FG made this announcement on Friday through a statement signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera.

Irukera, disclosed in the statement that the development is coming following the inability or failure of some firms to comply with the previous registration deadline.

Recall that for already existing DMLS, the Guidelines mandated completion of the registration process by November 14, 2022, to remain in business and retain privileges of services by providers such as Google Playstore and payment systems or gateways.

On December 6, 2022, the FCCPC decided to extend that deadline to January 31, 2023, and March 27, 2023.

“Since acceptance and processing of registration closed, the Commission has continued to be inundated with requests for registration, approval or clearance by both then-existing platforms that failed to comply with the mandatory deadlines timely and new businesses seeking to commence operations,” Irukera said.

“Accordingly, while the JRETF continues the work of developing a more robust, comprehensive and enduring digital lending regulatory framework, the Commission will resume receiving and approving eligible DML applications (new and previously inexistent businesses) and requests (including those already received and pending) under and following the Guidelines and existing process.

“For businesses that existed and or were taken down by the Google Play store or ceased transaction processing or termination services by payment systems or gateways, the Commission will only consider and process such applications (whether currently received and pending before the Commission or otherwise) upon a statement of justification that sufficiently articulates an acceptable reason or justification for failing to conclude or complete the registration before the expiration of the previously set deadline.

In addition, Irukera said these applications (whether already received and pending or otherwise) shall be subject to a late processing fee.

According to the FCCPC boss, this fee should be paid through the Remita platform under the Approval Fee section.

He said that the financial institutions that are licensees and subject to the regulatory oversight of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are exempted.

Irukera further said that these financial institutions may obtain the required approval by a written request seeking a waiver by demonstrating such exemption, including evidence of licensure by the CBN.

“The Commission and JRETF continue to monitor the market and enforce the law concerning digital lending,” Irukera stated.

He said while violations still exist, the Commission notes a substantial reduction in practices that violate consumer privacy and constitute harassment, unacceptable unconventional loan repayment/recovery strategies and unexplained charges associated with loans.

Irukera also added that the FCCPC welcomes continued consumer vigilance in reporting infringement incidents for appropriate regulatory responses.