By S. U. Thoronka ……
The Bill entitled the Borrowers and Lenders Act, 2014, being an Act to provide the legal framework for credit agreements, to improve standards of disclosure of information in credit agreements, to prohibit certain practices, and promote consistency in the enforcement of credit agreements and to provide for other related matters was yesterday unanimously ratified by Parliament.
The bill is divided into seven parts. Part one deals with preliminary provisions. It defines key words contained in the bill. It also deals with application and non-application of the bill.
Part two deals with supervision and enforcement. Part three deals with effectiveness of security interests. Part four deals with general priority rules. Part five deals with priority of transferees of money and other related matters. Part six deals with borrower’s rights, obligations and disclosure of information. Part seven deals with enforcement and part eight deals with miscellaneous provisions.
In his introductory remarks, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Foday Mansaray who tabled the bill informed MPs that in 2009 the Bank of Sierra Leone in collaboration with partners conducted an assessment whereby weaknesses were discovered in the banking system. He said as a result of the assessment the bank took action by enacting laws to harmonize the system, adding that the primary aim was to achieve stability while at the same time set out the framework for viability.
Honourable Member of Parliament for Constituency 87 in Pujehun District Ansumana Jaia Kaikai described the bill as regulatory which is meant to create the enabling environment. While Hon. Sheriff B. Hassan of Constituency 53 in Port Loko District described the process as timely, noting that the bill would provide the necessary tool for borrowing but that customers of a bank whose credit status is not encouraging would obviously not entitled to such loan.
Hon. Hassan maintained that prudent businessmen would refuse to entrust their money to an institution where there are no good laws to protect interests. The Majority Leader Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu of Constituency 52 in Port Loko District in his contribution to the debate noted that the involvement or inclusion of youth entrepreneurship was very paramount to the economic development of the nation.
By S. U. Thoronka ……