In response to the recent move by Point of Sale POS operators, under the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), to fix new prices for PoS transactions, the Federal Government has taken decisive action through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC). The government has issued a cease-and-desist order to PoS operators to prevent conduct that constitutes an infringement of the law.
The new pricing model, which came into effect on July 17, 2023, prompted the FCCPC to intervene and protect consumer interests and fair competition in the market. According to a statement signed by the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, PoS operators found in violation of the order will
face significant penalties.
Corporate entities found in violation will be fined up to N10 million, while individuals may face a fine of up to N1 million and, in some cases, a prison sentence of up to three months. The FCCPC emphasized that these penalties are in addition to the consequences of the underlying illegal conduct that prompted the order.
The commission clarified that while it respects and encourages pricing flexibility determined by market forces, it will not tolerate manifestly unjust or exploitative prices as prohibited by Section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018. The government agency also stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the PoS market lacks sufficient players or competition in Lagos or elsewhere.
The FCCPC had initially attempted a cautious and collaborative approach, but in light of continued non-compliance, it has now issued the Order & Notice (ONC) to AMMBAN, its members, and non-member PoS operators, demanding they cease and desist from infringing the law. The ONC has been served to AMMBAN, and further dissemination is underway to ensure broad awareness.
The commission further warned that it will not hesitate to prosecute violators and affiliates who may be liable for the conduct of a violating company or business. Additionally, if necessary, it may restrict merchant services and privileges to PoS operators or AMMBAN members who persist in conduct inconsistent with the law and economic efficiency.
The government’s firm stance on enforcing the law aims to ensure fair business practices, protect consumers, and promote healthy competition within the PoS market.