PoS Operators Resist FG Attempt To sanction Them For Increase In Transaction Fee

Due to the recent increase in their transaction fees, Point of Sale operators (PoS) across the country have resisted attempts by the Federal Government to sanction them.
Recall that the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), which is the umbrella association for the Lagos Chapter of PoS operators, has announced a planned increase in the charges.
PoS agents now have revised price lists across the state, according to Stephen Adeoye, the association’s public relations officer for the Lagos Chapter, and they are trying to establish a task force to enforce the modifications.
Adeoye said “To enforce this new price list is easy because we have a good relationship with the Lagos State Command, Police Force, and all the DPOs in the area. Very soon a task force will be set up in each zone so that they will work along with it.”
In its reaction, the government through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC)  cautioned PoS operators to desist from any move to hike PoS transaction charges.
The Commission revealed that it was currently investigating price-fixing attempts by PoS agents and will sanction them if they are found guilty.
It said, “To the extent that any combination of undertakings, including AMMBAN indeed met, agreed or decided to impose uniform or coordinated fees/tariffs for services this announcement should serve to ensure such undertakings cease from that arrangement or similar discussions/conduct.”
The  FCCPC in a statement, signed by its Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, on Wednesday, noted that price fixing is against the law and distorts the market, prevents innovation and efficiency, and impacts consumers negatively.
It said, “The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (2018) (FCCPA) recognises indeed encourages the prerogative of businesses to organise in and as trade associations for acceptable purposes, such as ensuring and enforcing applicable standards and best practices, as well as a measure of self-regulation within the profession or trade
“However, the same FCCPA copiously and extensively limits the scope and extent of such collaboration, particularly to exclude coordination concerning scope or supply of services and price of services
“The FCCPA expressly prohibits any price-fixing or agreement among undertakings (whether bilaterally or multilaterally) or by undertakings acting in consensus on the platform, or under the aegis of an association to fix prices, coordinate supply or any other commercially sensitive factors that can limit or substantially prevent competition; or otherwise distort the market.”
The PoS operators, in opposition, asserted that the increase in service fees was necessary to ensure that agents could survive and continue operating their businesses in a response on Wednesday.
According to the association, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulates the market, and its efforts are not intended to alter the rates of transactions that the CBN has set for the operators.
AMMBAN said that its most recent action was a direct reaction to the country’s current economic conditions. It claimed that because neither the CBN nor any of the operators provide financial support for its members’ services, agents are responsible for bearing the brunt of the current economic situation.
It stated, “It is important to note that there are two aspects of agency banking: the regulatory part overseen by the CBN and the Small and Medium Enterprises side.
“As an association, AMMBAN is not a regulator and has no intention of usurping such powers. However, the SME side of the industry, which includes the agents, often bears the cost of operations, including the standard rates set by the CBN, even though they are registered under a provider, sometimes at a fee.
“Today, the average agent faces numerous challenges, including surging inflation, overhead costs (such as the source of funding, rent, staff salaries, POS paper costs, data subscriptions, security, multiple taxation/levies), and various risks such as loss of funds through licensed operators’ channels, fraud, and robbery.
“We understand that there is no Agency Banking without agents. Therefore, they should not be treated as if their lives do not matter.”
Ada Peter
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