Fair Re­port­ing of Credit Act ef­fec­tive to­day

Re­pay out­stand­ing loans, Sayed-Khaiyum urges public; Credit Act now ef­fec­tive

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - JY­OTI PRATIBHA Edited by Naisa Koroi Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

It’s of­fi­cial! The Fair Re­port­ing of Credit Act comes into ef­fect to­day. With this, reg­u­la­tions that will re­late to the Act also come into ef­fect. At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this would give Fi­jians a clean slate to start from, es­pe­cially the youth who would not have been in a po­si­tion to reach out to lend­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions such as banks. RBF has al­ready in­formed Data Bureau of the Act com­ing into ef­fect and all cur­rent in­for­ma­tion they have on Fi­jians would now be sent to RBF and quar­an­tined. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also out­lined how com­pa­nies can ap­ply to open Credit Re­port­ing agen­cies in Fiji.

Any­one want­ing to open a Credit Re­port­ing Agency would need to ap­ply to the Re­serve Bank of Fiji. A li­cence of 10 years would be given to suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies. An an­nual fee of $3000 is ap­pli­ca­ble and for ten years, $30,000 would need to be paid.

Any­one want­ing to be a credit re­port­ing re­cip­i­ent, mean­ing any­one want­ing to know in­for­ma­tion about in­di­vid­u­als, they too would need to ap­ply to the RBF. An an­nual fee of $1000 would be ap­pli­ca­ble.

Those who want to be credit in­for­ma­tion providers, they too need to ap­ply to RBF. For this ser­vice, an an­nual fee of $1000 would be ap­pli­ca­ble. This means com­pa­nies who pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to the agen­cies would need to get the green light from RBF.

A credit de­fault of more than $300 would only be loaded to the Credit Re­port­ing Agen­cies. And, if the credit has been in de­fault for more than 60 days, will names of in­di­vid­u­als be for­warded to the Credit Re­port­ing Agen­cies.

More than one com­pany can get li­cence to be a Credit Re­port­ing Agency in Fiji.

You can­not be a di­rect fi­nan­cial provider and be a share­holder in the credit re­port­ing agency.

The Act has mech­a­nisms for ad­dress­ing any griev­ance whereby any dis­putes arise from peo­ples’ names be­ing for­warded to the credit re­port­ing agency, with­out need­ing to run to the courts, as has been al­luded to by some lawyers. Pri­vacy:

The RBF would need to ap­prove who all gets ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion kept by the Credit Re­port­ing Agen­cies. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said credit in­for­ma­tion in­di­vid­u­als were sacro­sanct to an ex­tent and pri­vacy was ut­most.

Data Bureau, the only credit re­port­ing agency that ex­isted in Fiji till to­day, had writ­ten a let­ter in which they claimed that Gov­ern­ment Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment needed to re­veal how many of their fam­ily mem­bers had been re­ported for bad credit be­fore vot­ing in favour of the Act.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “It’s pre­cisely the sit­u­a­tion that the Act is try­ing to avoid. Here you have a com­pany that has al­legedly writ­ten a let­ter say­ing, won­der if MPs had their fam­ily mem­bers had re­ported to the com­pany. That type of in­for­ma­tion should not be made avail­able to any­body. That type of in­for­ma­tion should be made avail­able to the credit re­port­ing agency and to who­ever re­quests that in­for­ma­tion when an in­di­vid­ual ap­plies for a loan. Not for that in­for­ma­tion to be bandied around even for the staff of a credit re­port­ing agency, or a di­rect in­ter­ested par­ties. It is rather para­dox­i­cal that on one hand you are us­ing that type of in­for­ma­tion and hold­ing it over peo­ple’s heads when that is the type of mis­chief that we are try­ing to ad­dress in the first place. “Now, no­body can sim­ply walk off the street to be­come a re­ceiver or re­cip­i­ent of your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. They have to ap­ply to the Re­serve Bank and RBF would have to ap­prove for that per­son or com­pany to be­come a credit re­port re­cip­i­ent.” While Fi­jians have now been pro­vided a clean slate to start over, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has urged peo­ple to re­pay their out­stand­ing debts. The law is about pro­vid­ing an equi­lib­rium. The law is about cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion where or­di­nary Fi­jians have ac­cess to ser­vice in a fair en­vi­ron­ment. Gov­ern­ment is hop­ing that this would now at­tract Credit Re­port­ing Agen­cies from Aus­tralia and New Zealand to open up com­pa­nies in Fiji. Gov­ern­ment hopes to at­tract Credit Re­port­ing Agen­cies from Aus­tralia and New Zealand apart from lo­cal com­pa­nies to set up credit re­port­ing agen­cies in Fiji.

Photo: Rosi Do­viver­ata

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

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