The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have commenced rights violation investigation into the money lending industry.
A document signed by Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC for the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Committee, said this in Abuja on Monday.
Irukera said that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency were also members.
He disclosed that the committee would lead efforts to address multiple potentially dubious conducts of certain money lenders, otherwise known as loan sharks.
According to him, the meeting resolved to collaborate, pursue urgent enforcement action against already known violators while investigating others, as well as criminal prosecutions where applicable.
He regretted that the act was fast becoming a dominant and abusive practice targeting some of the most vulnerable in society.
“Continuing complaints about questionable repayment enforcement practices including public shaming and violations of privacy have led to significant and understandable consumer aggravation and dissatisfaction.
“Others are arbitrary, unjust, unreasonable, or exploitative interest rates and or loan balances calculations, harassment and failure of consumer feedback mechanisms, among others have caused consumer aggravation.
“Initial inquiries demonstrate that many of the purported lenders are not legally acceptably established or otherwise licensed by the appropriate authorities to engage in the services they ostensibly provide.
“A joint taskforce of analysts and enforcers was also created and immediately activated.
“The agencies recognised and welcome products and providers that bridge the lending gap for consumers who would otherwise be ineligible for conventional loans from traditional financial institutions.
“However, this must occur within legally acceptable parameters of transparency and fairness,’’ he said.
Irukera said that in furtherance of resolutions from the meeting, the commission had created a dedicated email address to receive complaints, identity of businesses or individuals involved in these practices.
He said the e-mail address is email@example.com.