The Federal Government has welcomed Google’s restriction on Loan applications on Play Store from gaining access to users' contacts or photos from 31st May 2023. The new policy follows Google’s recent announcement of updates to its Developer Programme Policy. This update mandates digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya to conform to regulatory rules or face removal from the Play Store by January 31. Digital money lenders in Nigeria must adhere to and complete the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, and obtain a verifiable approval letter from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to be allowed on the Play Store in Nigeria.
Notably, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) had recently registered 170 loan apps out of the 200 operating in the country.
This restriction was lauded by the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, stating Google’s Institutionalization of the regulatory policy was a welcomed development and consistent with the commission’s position as a regulator. This move is in line with the government’s recent effort in preventing loan app firms from invading customers’ privacy.
Some of the loan apps in Nigeria have been known for harassing their customers who have defaulted, by sending defaming messages to their contacts and exposing confidential data leaks This has led to a lot of Nigerians going into depression after seriously being embarrassed on social media and even calls to their family members or friends.
Google, in its updated April policy, has stated that the new policy would help stop loan app users in Nigeria and other places where loan retrieval methods have become commonplace.
According to Google, only digital money lenders that have adhered to and completed the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the FCCPC and obtained a verifiable approval letter from the commission will be allowed on Play Store in Nigeria.