In our present dire economy, the need and demand for money has quadrupled immensely. For a chance at survival, people in general invest frantic and unrelenting effort to acquire money, necessitating the rise of the art of lending money to meet these insatiable needs and demand for money. Financial institutions notably banks evolved to meet these needs and demands. However as a result of the stringent hurdles encountered by low income earners in obtaining these loans from the banks which includes cumbersome credit worthiness requirements and collateral to be met by the borrowers, an alternative was thereby sought by these low income earners to ameliorate the aforesaid hardship. This led to the advent of Money lenders who loaned out money on high interest rates since often they would not require collateral. These became known as “money lenders” and their trade “money lending”.
The concept of money lending have forever been in existence from time immemorial. It has proven itself over the years to be an intrinsic part of human existence. The pall of ignorance however lies in the knowledge of the legalization of this concept. In Nigeria, this concept is regulated by the Money Lending Law of various States in Nigeria. Money lending simply put by virtue of Section 4 of the MONEYLENDERS LAW CHAPTER M7 LAWS OF LAGOS STATE provides that a person who lends money at interest or who lends a sum of money in consideration of a larger sum of money being repaid shall be presumed to be a money lender until the contrary is proved. The purport of the definitive section of the Money lenders Law is that for a person to become a legitimate money lender immune from contrary proof otherwise, the individual/corporate body must obtain the Money Lenders License to practice money lending in Nigeria.
Irrespective of the law however and quite unfortunately, many people go into the lucrative business of money lending in Nigeria without getting the necessary license and approvals. They most times deftly operate under the radar, and often appear relatively fine until something goes wrong. But if you are a stickler for doing things the right way you can rest assured that you are better protected if you obtain your money lender’s license. For when the inevitable disputes come calling, you shall require a valid License for any chance of a Legal remedy. As the Legal maxim quite rightly posited ‘He who comes to equity must come with clean hands’.
Earlier this year, I was assigned by my principal to assist a client to procure a money lenders license, I quickly realized that there was no information available online or anywhere as the case maybe. After paddling through a lot of grueling hoops, I finally managed to obtain the license. My principal decided it was going to be beneficial to many if the information is put out there for anyone who wants to get a license to access freely and I was obliged to put down my experience.
However, if you would rather outsource this as it is quite cumbersome; you can always send an email to my firm at email@example.com, we are happy to assist for a minimal fee.
ENUMERATIVE INSIGHTS ON THE STEP BY STEP PROCEDURES IN ACQUIRING THE MONEY LENDERS LICENSE CERTIFICATE
In order to ameliorate the hardship tenable in pursuit of money lending license certificate by applying money lending individuals / corporate bodies, an updated guide has been painstakingly drawn for your perusal below:
FIRST STAGE- Application to the Magistrate Court- any person/corporate body intending to carry on a money lending business, or any person/corporate body to be saddled with the responsibility of managing the business for that matter, must be a fit and proper person in terms of his character and disposition. This and other qualities of the moneylender must be attested to by a magistrate in a certificate which is issued to the moneylender as a precondition for the grant of a license for the money lending business; hence it is the first stage of acquiring Money Lending License Certificate. To obtain a magistrate’s certificate, the proposed money lender must make an application to a magistrate having jurisdiction in the area in which the moneylender’s business is to be carried on. In applying for the magistrate certificate, the following must documents must be provided;
1. A covering letter (i.e. an application Letter addressed to the Chief Magistrate on a Letterhead with the list of documents that will be attached with the company seal affix to the letter.)
a. Certified True Copy of CAC Form 2
b. Certified True Copy of CAC Form 7
c. Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company.
d. Certificate of Incorporation
e. Tax Clearance of the Individual or Corporate Body[Obtained from Federal Inland Revenue Service- FIRS] and if it’s a new company- provide proof that you are a registered tax payer
f. Police Clearance of the applying individual/ Corporate body [in Lagos, it is obtained from Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Ikeja]
g. Evidence of Maintenance of current account under a licensed Bank.
Upon the due filing of the above documents, you shall be issued with two documents,
I. Letter from the Chief Magistrate Court Registry to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home affairs confirming due compliance and recommending the issuance of the money lending license certificate to the applying individual/ corporate body in question.
II. FORM B of the MONEY LENDERS ORDINANCE, 1938.
Official fee payable to the Magistrate is N200.
SECOND STAGE- Application to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Tourism [In Lagos, located in Alausa, Ikeja] –
Upon obtaining the above documents, you shall then proceed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Tourism once you have the documents listed below-
· Required to pay the sum of N10, 000 [ten thousand naira] for the purchase of the application required for the regularization of Money Lenders Certificate, with attesting receipt to evidence payment.
· Also collect an invoice from the Ministry of Home Affairs revenue collection department for the payment of N50, 000 [fifty thousand naira]. This is for the payment of Money Lenders Fee, which will be paid into the following account.
Bank Account Details
ACC Name- Ministry of Home Affairs and Tourism
ACC No- 1770006174
Agency Code- 438000
Assessment Ref- Money Lender License Fee
Payer ID/Name- [Individual/ corporate name]
Revenue Code- 4040055
· Complete the form and pay the fees into the bank account listed above or provided by the revenue collection department. PS: Make sure you have the right account number as you will not be able to collect any refund from government.
· Submit the Application for Regularization form, together with the following list of documents-
A. A Covering Letter- (i.e. Application letter)
B. Money Lender Ordinance [Form B] 1938 – from Magistrate Court
C. Duly completed Form C- from Magistrate Court.
D. Police Report from Commissioner of Police showing- fingerprints of Directors/ Proprietors/ Trustees/ Applicants.[In Lagos, obtained from Lagos State Command, Alagbon]
E. 3 year Income Tax Clearance Certificate, [including current year] / Development Levy for each individual applicant/ Director/ Proprietor/Trustee.
F. Pay As You Earn [PAYE] Certificate, Tax Clearance of at least two  of its directors, and evidence of payment of company taxes.
G. Certificate of Incorporation of Company from Corporate Affairs Commission.
H. Evidence of payment of Application fees to the Lagos State Account.
I. Evidence of maintenance of a bank account with a reputable bank in Nigeria
Official fee: Issuance/ Registration- N50, 000, Renewal- N25, 000
FINAL STAGE- Visitation
Upon the due compliance of the above requirements, the following shall be done by the Ministry of Home Affairs-
· Open a file for the Applying Money Lending Company/ Individual, in which all the required documents shall be inserted therein.
· Secondly, Inspection officers from the ministry shall be sent on an agreed date for visitation and inspection of the registered office address of the applying Company/ Individual. Upon visitation, if the company is already engaging in the business of money lending, the books shall be inspected in addition to the office premises and the officers of the company. However if the company is yet to commence business, inspection of the office premises and officers of the company shall suffice.
· Lastly, after inspection and confirmation of due compliance, the individual or corporate body shall be issued with the MONEY LENDING LICENSE CERTIFICATE.
In conclusion, the inevitability and indispensability of Money Lenders as well as the business of money lending in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Therefore the population of money lenders has increased greatly over the years; unfortunately illegitimate practice is an overriding norm in our society. This is condemnable and unacceptable. This might be arguably blamed on the bottleneck government parastatal in their creation of awareness on the sacrosanct requirement by law to legitimize every individual/ corporate body engaged in money lending business. It is therefore important you do the needful, legitimize your business by obtaining a valid Money Lending License.
In response to popular demand, a sample of the money lenders certificate is here attached: