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Nigerian Govt to block access to online loan firms

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Nigerian Govt to block access to online loan firms
The Federal Government has directed payment systems operators, PSOs, as well as telecommunication companies in Nigeria to stop providing access to illegal digital money lenders, also known as money sharks, in Nigeria.

Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of The Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) Babatunde Irukera, disclosed this on Thursday, August 18, in Lagos, when the Commission conducted enforcement actions against a loan company known as Soko Lending Limited.

He reportedly said that FCCPC will work to protect citizens by disabling or diminishing violators’ ability to circumvent regulatory efforts.

“Soko Lending appears to be the most consequential digital money lender with multiple apps and brand names covering a significant share of the digital/online lending market, and one of the most prolific actors in violating consumer privacy, fair lending terms and ethical loan repayment/recovery practices.”

“The Commission has also entered further Orders that will disable or diminish violators’ ability to devise circumvention efforts or alternative mechanisms to circumvent the objective of the investigation and protection of citizens.

“Particularly, the Commission has ordered all operating payment systems including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify to immediately cease and desist providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or not otherwise operating with applicable regulatory approvals.

“FCCPC has also ordered telecommunication/ technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist providing server/hosting, or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval.

“The inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force has developed and mutually adopted a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 as the first and interim step to establishing a clear regulatory framework.’’

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