TODAY NICARAGUA – Legislators loyal to Daniel Ortega approved Wednesday, February 3, the reform of the Law for the Defense of Protection of the Rights of Consumers and Users, legislation that aims to further toughen regulations towards companies, especially in the financial sector.
With this reform, the “Ley de Defensa de Protección de los derechos de las personas consumidoras y usuarias” grants discretion to regulatory entities of basic services, telephony, television, financial and other sectors, to decide the economic fines and sanctions that they consider necessary to apply to the supplier companies, although for this they must reform their respective regulations.
The changes that are proposed in the reform would also imply a friction with the Organic Law of the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN) because the Sandinista legislators make the BCN the regulatory body for remittance companies, a function that is not part of the governing body of the country’s economic and monetary policy.
The Sandinista legislators approved this law, despite the warning of the Association of Private Banks of Nicaragua (Asobanp), who argued that its mechanisms would cause an international financial block against the National Financial System. The reform and addition to the Consumer Defense Law was approved with 74 votes in favor, 14 against; 13 of these from the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), plus four abstentions.
In a letter sent to the Economic Commission on Thursday, January 28, Asobanp indicated that if this reform were approved, the constitutional right to free enterprise would be violated and would cause Nicaragua to be included on the Black List of Financial Action International (FATF), being the consequence of the country being excluded from the Global Financial System.
This would cause foreign banks to cut off relations with Nicaraguan banks, affecting the processes for receiving remittances, credit and debit card operations, as well as commercial transactions, exports and other operations.
Law to protect the sanctioned
The objective of the Daniel Ortega regime to modify the Consumer Law is to legally pressure private banks to reopen the bank accounts of the 27 officials, companies, and the Orteguista Police (PO), sanctioned by the United States, the European Union, and other governments.
The sanctions oblige the banks not to have relationships with the affected people and companies because they are linked to acts of corruption, money laundering, and human rights violations.
No investor, authorities, or persons of the governments that applied the measures may have business with those sanctioned.
Legislator Byron Jerez, former Director of Revenue during the liberal government of Arnoldo Alemán, admitted that the reform is to protect officials sanctioned by the US, on the grounds that the banking institution cannot close accounts to third parties, that is, relatives of sanctioned.
Law not intended to protect consumers
Legislator Azucena Castillo, attached to her vote against the reform and addition to Law, the position of Asobanp, where they state that said initiative that reforms articles 9, 10 and 25, article 54 and the addition Article 6, numeral 22, violate the principle of autonomy of the will of contracts and contractual freedom by preventing banks from freely choosing with whom to start their commercial relationships and also deciding when to cancel a relationship with their users or a consumer, a power that is in their contracts and regulations.
“With this reform initiative and addition to Law 842, which makes it clear that the objective is not congruent with a policy to strengthen the rights of users of financial services or customers of commercial businesses. Unfortunately with this law, an attempt is made to use the consumer protection system for another purpose,” said Castillo.
Castillo added that they want to include the State and its institutions to pressure financial services institutions in their internal policies so that services are not denied or their existing contracts are canceled, subjecting them only to the requirements established in the ordinance. corresponding legal, ignoring international relations.
Source: La Prensa