Microlending and Financial Adjudicator Bills Soon

THE Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) is putting final touches to the Microlending and Financial Services Adjudicator Bills.

This week, Namfisa started soliciting for comments on the bills from interested parties including members of the Law Society of Namibia.

“Namfisa is in the process of finalising two draft Bills, the Microlending Bill and the Financial Services Adjudicator Bill, and would appreciate any input and comments from interested legal practitioners, in addition to the input and comments received from relevant stakeholders,” an email sent to the society said.

According to the draft bill, the Financial Services Adjudicator will be an office established to deal with complaints relating to financial services. The office will be supervised by a board.

“The board must comply with any reasonable request by the minister, portfolio ministers, Namfisa or the Bank of Namibia for information relating to the performance of the office. The board must review and approve conflict of interest guidelines applicable to the Adjudicator and deputy Adjudicator and the members of the board at least once every two years, and must file a copy of such guidelines with the minister forthwith after its approval,” the draft bill says.

On the other hand, the Microlending Bill is meant to regulate the microlending business operations in Namibia and to establish an effective and consistent enforcement framework relating to microlending.

The bill will also protect borrowers and promote responsible borrowing and lending and provide for incidental matters.

Under new regulations, a microlender must be registered with Namfisa.

“Any person who conducts the business of a microlender without being duly registered in terms of this Act commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding N$500 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and imprisonment,” the bill says.

In a report for the second quarter of last year, Namfisa said microlenders disbursed loans to the value of N$498 million for the quarter, compared to N$531 million for the previous quarter. The value of the loan book increased by 18,5% to N$3,2 billion as at the end of the quarter.

Namfisa received a total of 106 complaints during the quarter. Of these, 43% related to microlending and 25,5% to pension funds. Complaints relating to short-term insurance were the least during the period. At the end of the quarter, 80% of the complaints received were resolved.

Namfisa had 2 913 registered entities under its supervision as at the end of the quarter. The authority registered 11 new financial institutions and 95 intermediaries. Microlenders made up 72% of the new registrations, while intermediaries were mainly in long-term and short-term insurance. NAMFISA also de-registered six institutions, of which three were microlenders and two pension funds.

Source : The Namibian