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The Credit bureau regulations in a nutshell

Existing credit bureaus to re-apply

Outlining the framework under which credit bureaus will effectively operate, the Bank of Namibia this week in response to questions posed by the Namibia Economist stated that new, and existing credit bureaus will have to re-apply for licences to conduct business.
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.

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.