Fiji Moves to Regulate Unlicensed Credit Providers

The Fijian government has announced a crackdown on unlicensed credit providers in response to increasing consumer complaints.

Fiji’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Manoa Kamikamica is spearheading the effort to address the unethical practices.

Over the past four years, the Consumer Council of Fiji has logged 329 complaints against these entities, totalling $452,614.82. Complaints range from unjustified fees and misrepresented loan terms to delayed refunds and predatory lending practices.

“We cannot allow unlicensed credit providers to exploit our citizens,” Kamikamica said. “It is imperative that we work towards amending the Reserve Bank of Fiji Act 1983 to include regulatory oversight for these entities. Currently, credit providers can choose not to register as a financial institution, but continue to operate, exempting them from oversight by the RBF.”

Seema Shandil, CEO of the Consumer Council, echoed the urgency of regulatory reform.

“The complaints are alarming. These practices are not only unethical but also negatively impact the financial sector as a whole. These practices are not only unethical but also negatively impact the finance sector as a whole. We need robust regulatory frameworks to protect consumers and ensure that all credit providers operate transparently and fairly – and the commitment by the minister has brought us a step closer to this.”

The proposed amendments are expected to bolster consumer protection, enhance governance among credit providers, and promote fair competition. Kamikamica confirmed that the Ministry will work closely with the Reserve Bank of Fiji and other relevant bodies to implement these changes.

“The proposed regulatory changes will have several positive impacts, including enhanced consumer protection from exploitation, improved governance and compliance among credit providers, and the promotion of fair competition and market efficiency, ultimately benefitting consumers and the economy,” Kamikamica added.

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