By CLARISSA MOI
A consultation workshop has been held by Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) in conjunction with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a framework to address consumer protection and empowerment.
BPNG assistant governor Ellison Pidik, during the workshop in Port Moresby on Friday, said the consultation had come about as a result of a diagnostic review done by the IFC, part of World Bank.
It has identified very serious issues in relation to lack of consumer protection and empowerment.
It recommended for a financial consumer protection (FCP) regulatory framework to be developed under the Banks and Financial Institutions Act 2000 to establish a fair and equitable treatment of consumers of financial products and services.
“What we are running now is presenting a proposed framework,” Pidik said.
“That will be the basis for implementing a regime for financial consumer protection, and empowering consumers to take best advantage of whatever they access in terms of financial services.
“At the end of the day, a consumer of a bank or a financial institution improves his or her standard of living.”
Pidik said there were six areas in the proposed framework:
- fair treatment: to ensure there is fair treatment to customers accessing financial service, whether it be banking, lending, deposit, credit, insurance policy, contributing to superannuation or basically doing a payment service;
- disclosure and transparency: proposing detailed financial facts statements;
- product suitability;
- responsible lending;
- data protection; and,
- consumer redress – who to see for assistance.
Pidik said BPNG considered protection of financial consumers as a critical enabler for financial inclusion initiatives.
He said consultative workshops would be held in major centres of the country to get the regulatory framework off the ground as soon as possible.