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Again, FG warns POS operators against increasing transaction fees, to penalise defaulters

Again, FG warns POS operators against increasing transaction fees, to penalise defaulters
July 24
16:23 2023

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has warned point-of-sale (POS) operators against exploitative and unjust prices.

The Lagos chapter of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) had announced a new price list for PoS transactions in the state.

In response to the move, the FCCPC asked agent bankers to shun such plans.

In a statement on Monday, Babatunde Irukera, executive vice-chairman/ chief executive officer of FCCPC, said the commission was aware of what appears to be “an adamance of AMMBAN and insistence on a membership-wide implementation of illegal conduct”.

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Specifically, he referenced reports suggesting that a national publicity secretary of AMMBAN had dismissed regulatory statements while confirming a resolve to execute the uniform prices.

“To be clear, the commission has not sought to limit the prerogative of PoS service providers to determine and set prices for services in a manner of their choosing subject to section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA), which prohibits manifestly unjust or exploitative prices,” he said.

Irukera said the commission respects and encourages a pricing methodology that is the product of market forces in a free, competitive, and undistorted market.

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“There is no evidence that the PoS market lacks sufficient players or competition in Lagos which is the subject of the announcement, or anywhere else for that matter,” he said.

“The commission welcomes the inherent powers and discretion of each PoS operator to set their prices based on their own internal mechanisms and relevant markets, providing consumers with choices and the best possible prices while ensuring profitability.

“While the commission continues to provide consideration to, and for small businesses, enforcing the law must remain non-negotiable.”

FCCPC SERVES ONC ON AMMBAN 

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Consequently, Irukera noted that the commission issued an order and notice (ONC) to AMMBAN, persons identified as executives, members, and non-member PoS operators, to cease and desist from conduct that constitutes an infringement of the law.

“Accordingly, the commission has, and is by this again publicly disseminating the ONC. Members are however invited to consider sufficiency of service of the ONC under section 158 (4) of the FCCPA which deems such service on their association or executives as adequate and acceptable,” he said.

“This cautious and collaborative approach underscores the commission’s desire for a cooperative attitude to compliance. The ONC, however, conveys the commission’s will to enforce the law including, and up to prosecuting violators and affiliates who may otherwise be statutorily liable for the conduct of a violating company or business.”

The FCCPC boss said the “violation of an order of the commission attracts additional consequences apart from the underlying illegal conduct that is the subject of the order such as up to N10,000,000 for corporate entities; and N1,000,000 and or a prison sentence of up to three months for individuals”.  

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“In addition to stipulated statutory consequences, although the commission prefers not to disrupt the business and operations of small enterprises, it will, (if it becomes necessary) prohibit merchant services and privileges to PoS operators or AMMBAN members who persist in conduct that is inconsistent with law and economic efficiency,” Irukera said.

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