LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) –The Nigerian government has declared that from 31 May, 2023, loan apps available on the Play Store would not be able to access the contacts or images of their customers.
This policy is consistent with recent government initiatives to stop lending app companies from violating users’ privacy.
Out of the 200 loan apps now operating in Nigeria, 170 have been registered with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
According to Google’s April 2023 policy revisions, consumers of loan apps in Nigeria and other countries where shoddy loan collection techniques are commonplace will benefit from the new policy.
The revised policy forbids personal loan apps from accessing user contacts or photographs. The guideline also adds more restrictions for personal loan applications that cater to users in Pakistan, such as the need to submit license information particular to that nation to demonstrate their legitimacy as sources or facilitators of personal loans.
Google announced modifications to its Developer Programme Policy, which the new policy builds upon. This upgrade requires digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya to abide by legal requirements by 31 January or risk having their accounts removed from the Play Store.
However, to be accepted on the Play Store in Nigeria, digital money lenders must follow and complete the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, as well as obtain a verifiable approval letter from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, praised Google for institutionalizing the regulatory policy, calling it a positive move and in line with the commission’s role as a regulator.
Recently, the commission granted 119 applications for full permission and 54 for provisional approval, allowing a total of 173 applications for digital lending to operate across the nation.
Loan apps in Nigeria have a history of harassing Nigerians by disclosing sensitive data leaks and sending slanderous messages to their connections.
Although, Google’s policy indicates that it “does not allow apps that promote personal loans that require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued,” but many loan apps in the nation do not abide by this rules