Desist From Increasing Transaction Charges, FG Warns POS Operators

The Federal Government has asked point-of-sale operators to
desist from attempts to increase transaction fees, warning of serious
consequences and sanctions.

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.

Stephen Adeoye, the association’s spokesperson, during an
interview with Channels Television on July 1, said the measure was put in place
to deter fraud and stop overcharging by agents.

In response to the move in a statement on Wednesday, the
Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) asked agent
bankers to shun such plans.

According to the statement signed by Babatunde Irukera,
FCCPC’s executiveorder vice-chairman and chief executive officer, the agency said
price-fixing was against the law and distorted the market, prevented innovation
and efficiency, and impacted consumers negatively.

The commission said it was currently investigating the
price-fixing attempts by the PoS agents and would sanction them if
found guilty.

“The Federal Competition and 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,” the statement read.

“However, the same
FCCPA copiously and extensively limits the scope and extent of such
collaboration, particularly to exclude coordination with respect to 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 agency stated.

The consumer protection agency stated that the FCCPA
provideed stiff penalties for “cartels or any similar coordinated or collusive
conduct among competitors, even at association levels”.

The FCCPC said it would enforce the law to its fullest extent
“where there is sufficient evidence that a business has, or is participating in
any such prohibited conduct or arrangement either directly, or indirectly”.

“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 and desist from
that arrangement or similar discussions/conduct”, it added.