THE Consumer Council of Fiji is calling for an urgent review of the Moneylenders Act (Cap 234) which governs the money lending sector in the country.
Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said moneylending was among a list of key focus areas the council was highlighting to mark World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) today.
'Consumer Justice Now — Call for Reforms' is the theme for today's event and the council is again focusing on financial services as a critical area where consumer injustice is rife.
"The council recognises the fact that moneylending has become a major source of credit for low-income workers in Fiji and the business has boomed in the past five years," Mrs Kumar said.
"The current number of licensed moneylenders is 818, which is 131 per cent more than the number registered about five years ago.
"While moneylending has boomed in the country, consumers are, however, bearing the full brunt of injustice in this sector with problems ranging from illegal interest rates to unfair terms and conditions."
Mrs Kumar said the council was also concerned with the operations of illegal or unlicensed moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest and act against consumers in a way that was tantamount to extortion.
"The council has identified the outdated Moneylenders Act as a key legislation that needs to be reviewed," she said.