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God no go shame us: Nigeria's digital lenders are turning the screws
Where will digital lenders draw the line?
Nigeria’s debt shaming pandemic
God no go shame us
On Saturday evening, I was chugging a cold glass of water with my friend when he received a message on Whatsapp.
It took me back to October 2019, when I wrote a story about a relatively new trend of Nigerian digital lenders shaming customers as a way of getting them to repay their loans.
One digital lender didn’t like that they were mentioned in the article and wanted to provide some context. A call at midnight followed and then veiled threats. Then a meeting on Saturday with a CEO who banged on his table constantly and yelled, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? This is the fucking Champions League.’
I found his Champions League analogy weird, but back to the present. Shaming people who don’t repay loans on time is now mainstream in Nigeria. The trend has its roots in China but like everything else that Nigerians copy from other countries, we sort of have a way of taking things too far.
Yes, I’m looking at you, Amapiano.
China wins the debt shaming Olympics with one lender putting the names and information of debtors on billboards
While shaming has typically always been via SMS, this new model of sending Whatsapp messages is troubling. There have been a lot more articles about lenders and shaming since 2019 but none of the regulators currently seem to care. While I will concede that a lot of Nigerians have a curious attitude to repaying loans, there have to be better ways to enforce repayment.
Bottom line: Digital lenders will tell you that under the current Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR), they can and will ask you for permission to your data - which I mentioned on Friday - but what they do not mention is that they do not have the right to text your contacts. It’s also super curious that this trend hasn’t gotten the attention of the National Information Technology Agency, given that they investigated Truecaller for a similar privacy issue in 2019.
While we’re talking about investigations, let’s return to a familiar one….
Nigeria’s love - hate relationship with MultiChoice
MultiChoice is the company Nigerians love to hate. While it is one of Africa’s largest Pay-TV providers and the primary choice of the Nigerian middle-class, there’s no love lost for MultiChoice.
Most of that bad blood comes from a long history of Nigerians feeling like they pay too much for DStv subscriptions. There have been attempts to legislate the pricing by the government and you’ll find a lot of Nigerians who swear MultiChoice is a monopoly - it isn’t.
Last year, the government investigated MultiChoice after it raised subscription prices in response to, wait for it….the government increasing Value Added Tax (VAT).
The latest kerfuffle - I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence - is over allegations that MultiChoice owes the tax authorities ₦1.8 Trillion. The way the tax men see it, MultiChoice and other foreign companies make a ton of revenue from Nigeria and should pay up.
The statement further confirmed that Nigeria contributes 34% of total revenue for the Multichoice group. - The Guardian
What the statement doesn’t say is how, although, most of its subscribers come from Nigeria and the rest of Africa, most of the revenue and profits are from SA.
Maybe Nigeria and her authorities need to move with a little less vim considering that their numbers aren’t translating like that for MultiChoice. Also, didn’t we see something similar play out with the another government agency and MTN Nigeria?
Bottom line: This is Nigeria; anything you see, take it like that.
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As seen on Twitter: “The British and Pub association predicts England fans will buy 7.1 million pints as they watch England’s first major tournament final since the 1996 World Cup.” - @dondekojo
Lanre Fasasi a.k.a Sound Sultan, a true legend of Nigerian music has passed away after a struggle with cancer.
His music lit up my childhood and I’m certain a lot of Nigerians find that relatable. When you leave a comment today, please mention your favorite Sound Sultan jam, thank you!