The credit bureau regulations in a nutshell: existing credit bureaus to re-apply.
Prior to that, credit bureaus operated in an unregulated environment and were registered under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in accordance with the Companies Act, 2004 (Act No. 28 of 2004).
According to the Credit Bureau Regulations, a credit bureau is defined as a an entity specialised in the collection and sale of credit performance information for individuals and businesses and registered as a credit bureau in terms of these regulations
The Bank of Namibia will regulate credit bureaus in the interim, as stated by its Governer, Ipumbu Shimmi when asked to comment when the gazetting was announced at the Ministry of Finance.
Under the regulations, debt collecting agencies, and credit providers will not be able to register. In addition, the regulations require aspiring credit bureaus to amongst others; provided detailed feasibility plans outlining showing the nature of the planned business, organisational structure, internal control system and monitoring procedures of the company, covering among other things, the following aspects, and overview of operations including the description of systems, design of the data collection and dissemination including the unique identification system for individuals and businesses that is adequate to ease the collection of data and handling of the database.
Emma Haiyambo, Acting Director: Department of Strategic Communications and Financial Sector Development said, "In terms of the Credit Bureau Regulations, only entities that meet the requirements for registration as credit bureaus will be granted a license to conduct the business of a credit bureau in Namibia. This includes the existing credit bureaus as well as new applicants. If the existing credit bureaus fail to meet the minimum set standards and requirements and are consequently refused a license then they may not conduct such business in the country."
Haiyambo added, "The information in the possession of credit bureaus is very sensitive and [will] therefore need to be treated with utmost confidentiality. In this regard, credit providers namely banks and law enforcement agencies such as the Namibian Police Force will have access to the records of credit bureaus. Individuals or business entities whose information can be shared in terms of these regulations will also have access to their personal credit reports. It should however be noted that the information available at credit bureaus may not be shared with third parties that so request apart from the parties mentioned. Also, such credit information cannot be obtained on behalf of someone else from credit bureaus. A credit bureau must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that all credit."
The regulations make provision for the proper and accurate recording, maintenance, collection and classification, processing, updating and consolidation in order to provide a comprehensive representation on a data subject, protected against loss by ensuring availability of data back up and disaster recovery facilities, and protected against unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure.
BY OGONE TLHAGE