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Central Bank of Nigeria Steps in to Address Rate Hike as PoS Operators Take Action

Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will intervene to resolve issues around the new charges adopted by Point of Sale operators in Nigeria.

Already, Point of Sale agents are meeting with stakeholders across the country to agree on changes in transaction charges for PoS services.

This is following increases in PoS charges across Lagos, Ogun, and Edo states. This was disclosed to The PUNCH by the National Public Relations Officer, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Oluwasegun Elegbede.

According to him, other states are working to follow in Lagos’s footsteps and increase transaction charges. On Friday June 30, the PRO, AMMBAN, Lagos Chapter, Stephen Adeoye, declared on Channels Television’s Business Morning programme, that the association has come up with a new price list for PoS agents operating in the state.

He said, “Let me tell you the price list, N1000–N2,400 will be N100 for withdrawal. N3500 to N4000 will be N200; N4,100 to N6,400 will be N300; N6,500 to N7,900 will be N400; N8500 to N10,900 will be N500; N11,000 to N14,000 will be N600; N14,500 to N17,900 will be N700; N18,000 to N2000 will N800 for withdrawal.”

Justifying the increase in prices by the Lagos chapter of the organisation, Elegbede, told The PUNCH that PoS agents are adjusting their prices to reflect the country’s current economic realities.

He said, “Yes, it is something that is expected to happen nationally, looking at business last year and the current economic realities, it is very important that we also continue to stay in business.

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“Every other thing in the market has gone up, and we operate in the same market as every other business. Basically, the source of our business, the funding, the operational cost, and payment of staff is borne by us.”

He stated that agents need to increase their prices if they are to continue to stay in business. He argued, “We have to increase prices if we want to continue to stay in business, we need to balance cost. It will cut across all states. What we agreed on at the national level is that each state should come up with something that is realistic in their state, we cannot dictate prices for the state.”

Elegbede explained that every state will not adopt Lagos’s rate but will tailor theirs to prevailing peculiarities. “Many of the states are having meetings with stakeholders as we speak. Many of our members are in communities where there are stakeholders. Many of them are having engagements with these stakeholders. They are setting up committees to ensure that it is something that is well adopted and accepted by all.”

According to him, most mobile agents in the country are members of the association, and those that are not would increase align their costs to benefit from the increase in transaction charges. He affirmed to The PUNCH that implementation of the new rates has kicked off in Lagos, and some other states have also increased their rates, albeit without much fanfare.

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He added, “Some other states have kicked off with the new rates. Lagos is only getting most of the attention because of its economic status. Ogun has set up its price list. Edo has also started theirs and is coming up with its announcement soon. A couple of other states are also on it. We would be getting a couple of announcements state by state soon.

“The new rates are needed because of the current situation of the country. But it will still be very much affordable for the populace because we are also aware of our role in the economy.”

This move by AMMBAN is in defiance of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which recently released emergency telephone numbers for Nigerians to report PoS agents charging above N200 for withdrawal of amounts up to N10,000.

Commenting on the increase, the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isa AbdulMumin, noted that CBN was aware of the move by PoS agent to increase transaction charges.

Responding to a text, he said, “CBN is very much aware and working towards resolving the issue.”

According to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, there were 1.8 million PoS deployed machines as of the end of March 2023. Also, more Nigerians have begun to depend on PoS services with transaction value hitting an all-time high of N1.15tn as of the end of March 2023.

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