Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris addressing Thursday's Sitting.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- The Credit Reporting Bill 2018 was discussed and passed during the Sept. 6 meeting of the National Assembly, at which Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, led the debate.

The bill seeks to establish a regulatory and supervisory framework to support an advanced and fair credit reporting system in St. Kitts and Nevis, and by extension the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

The Credit Reporting Bill, 2018, had its first reading in the National Assembly on March, 28. Prime Minister Harris, who was the mover of the Bill, indicated that similar legislation will be implemented in all member states of the ECCU with the aim of developing a credit reporting system for OECS.

“The Bill will help to improve the quality of credit information provided to lenders and overall efficiency in the distribution of credit in the Currency Union and St Kitts and Nevis in particular,” the Minister of Finance said. “It will help reduce credit risks, processing times, the costs and over reliance on collateral to back credit.”

“We are attempting Mr. Speaker to add to the efficiency and efficacy of lending within the Currency Union and this Bill, by and large, will take us into modernity in relation to the management of credit within our jurisdictions,” Prime Minister Harris said, while commenting on the significance of the Bill to the Federation.

The Minister of Finance assured members of the public that the Act, as well as the accompanying regulations would provide the necessary safeguards to protect the interest of consumers.

“The legislative drafters have ensured that in this Bill certain consumer protection principles are embedded,” the prime minister added. “The Bill provides principles for accuracy, confidentiality, and the proper use of credit information.

“It also addresses other pertinent matters such as the licensing of persons who wish to offer credit reporting services because this becomes a business activity in which entities will engage and sell services, persons who can request a credit report and credit information providers,” Dr. Harris explained. “It also provides for accessibility by customers to their credit information and general offenses in relation to the providing of false information and handling of customer complaints.”

The Credit Reporting legislation also supports the establishment of a credit bureau to improve the collection and sharing of credit information across the ECCU. The credit bureau would be responsible for collecting information from creditors, other relevant credit information sources and available public sources, such as the Court of Justice, on a borrower’s credit history.