FCCPC To Resume Receiving, Approving DML Applications

FCCPC Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Babatunde Irukera

By Miriam Humbe

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC) has said that it would resume receiving and approving eligible Digital Money Lenders (DMLS) applications (new and previously inexistent businesses) and requests (including those already received and pending) under, and in accordance with the Guidelines and existing process.

FCCPC’s Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera said this in a statement signed on Thursday.

The Commission said that for businesses that existed, and or were taken down by Google Playstore, or ceased transaction processing or termination services by payment systems or gateways, it would only consider and process such applications (whether currently received and pending before the Commission or otherwise).

The FCCPC said that the processing would be upon a statement of justification that sufficiently articulated an acceptable reason or justification for failing to conclude or complete the registration before the expiration of the previously set deadline.

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

“This fee should be paid through the Remita platform under the Approval Fee section.

“Financial institutions that are licensees, and subject to the regulatory oversight of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are exempt.”

FCCPC said these 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 said that along with the JRETF, it would continue to monitor the market and enforce the law with respect to digital lending.

While violations still exist, the Commission noted substantial reduction in practices that violate consumer privacy, constitute harassment and unacceptable unconventional loan repayment/recovery strategies, as well as unexplained charges associated with loans.

The Commission welcomed continued consumer vigilance in reporting incidents of infringement for appropriate regulatory responses.

Recall that on August 18, 2022, the Commission, as part of the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force (JRETF), introduced a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (Guidelines 2022 or “Guidelines”), as well as an associated registration process/platform.

For already existing DML, the Guidelines mandated completion of the registration process by November 14, 2022 in order 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 Commission extended that deadline to January 31, 2023; and subsequently to 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 timely comply with the mandatory deadlines, and new businesses seeking to commence operations.

FCCPC said: “Accordingly, while the JRETF continued the work of developing a more robust, comprehensive and enduring digital lending regulatory framework”.

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