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Meeting compliance obligations in unusual times (2)

The first part of this article highlighted some guidelines and concessions rolled out by Regulatory bodies to enable. Some other guidelines and concessions by Regulatory bodies regarding compliance for this period are as highlighted below;

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) extended the deadline for all Data Controllers and Processors to conduct independent Data Protection Audit of various organizations and file the Audit report in line with the Nigerian Data Protection Policy Regulation (NDPR), from 15 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rolled out the following measures to enable individuals and organisations meet up with their loan obligations:

  1. A 1 year extension of a moratorium on principal repayments for CBN intervention facilities;
  2. The reduction of the interest rate on intervention loans from 9 percent to 5 percent;

iii.                Granting regulatory forbearance to banks to restructure terms of facilities in affected sectors;

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) in its Guidance Notes released on 28th April 2020 stated that the Commission prioritises Merger reviews, advisories or investigations where they are related to COVID 19. It further stated that for Merger Review, the Commission will accept remote filing/electronic notifications:

  1. Where there is possibility or imminent failure of the business of a merging party unless the combination is urgently considered.
  2. Where there is a host jurisdiction other than Nigeria, where there are time limitations but requiring notification and determination by the FCCPC prior to conclusion of the underlying transaction,
  3. Other time sensitive situations such as where other regulatory or similar approvals may expire or lapse, or such approvals where conditioned upon presenting a notification to the FCCPC within a specific period.

The FCCPC Guidance notes further stated In the above- mentioned   instances, the notifying party should label  the notification as “Extenuating circumstantial Notification” noting which of the circumstances above is applicable  with an explanation and evidence to support it.

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is supporting the manufacturing and importation of essential materials to combat the challenges of COVID-19 through the deployment of 28 relevant international Standards from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and one from the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) on Alcohol based Hand Sanitizers.

The Standards are being provided at no cost to local manufacturers to guide them and provide a benchmark for adjudging all imported products in the category during the pandemic.

The highlighted measures are quite commendable and should go a long way to help businesses meet with some of their compliance obligations.  However, there is still room for more measures and concessions to be given to enable businesses stay compliant in these unusual times as the ripple effects of the current pandemic are likely to be felt for a long time.

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