Need to protect Consumers


Fiji’s current Consumer Credit Act which came into effect in 1999 is being reviewed with the main aim to put in place a law that would be simple, provides clear rules for credit providers and is implementable.

This was highlighted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Permanent Secretary Mr Shaheen Ali while opening the Consumer Credit Act Review Workshop.

“Over the years numerous complaints have been received in relation to credit provision and implementation of the Act has been difficult due to the onerous provisions of the Act. The main aim of this review is to put in place a Consumer Credit Law that would be simple, provides clear rules for credit providers and is implementable,” Mr Ali said.

Mr Ali said the Act need to provide clear rules for credit providers to allow a fair and level playing field in the industry to encourage commerce and business.

He said one of the most worrying trends in the country is the increased usage of the informal sector for credit that is unregulated.

According to the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, 75 percent of credit in Fiji is provided through informal sources such as moneylenders.

“The laws in place are not able to provide adequate protection to the consumers and this is a concern in terms of consumer protection.”

Mr Ali stressed that extensive consultations is being undertaken not only with consumers but also commercial banks and other credit providers.

He added that the revised Consumer Credit law should be on par with international best practices and standards for consumer protection and clear guidelines for credit providers to protect their rights.

A Consumer Credit Act provides the legal framework for the provision of credit and ensuring that consumers or debtors are protected and allowed to make informed decision before entering into a credit contract.