The Federal Government has issued a cease-and-desist order to Point of Sale (POS) operators from behavior that constitutes a legal violation through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
This comes after PoS providers made the decision to set new rates for PoS transactions under the auspices of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria.
On July 17, 2023, the new pricing scheme went into effect.
The commission states that PoS operators who are found to be in violation of the order must pay N10m for corporate entities and N1m and/or serve up to three months in jail.
In a statement released by the FCCPC on Monday and signed by Babatunde Irukera, its executive vice chairman and chief executive officer, the commission stated: “The Commission advises PoS operators that 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.”
The commission noted that, subject to Section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 2018, which forbids prices that are obviously unfair or exploitative, it has not sought to restrict the right of PoS service providers to choose how to determine and set prices for their services.
It declared that it accepts and supports pricing practices that are the result of market forces in a competitive, unrestricted, and free market. However, it said that there is no proof that the PoS market in Lagos or anyplace else lacks enough participants or competition.
“While the Commission continues to consider, and for, small businesses, enforcing the law must remain non-negotiable,” the panel declared.
As a result, the Commission has entered an Order & Notice (ONC) of the Commission to AMMBAN, persons identified as executives, members, and non-member PoS operators to Cease and Desist from conduct that violates the law in order to escalate this in accordance with the FCCPA and ancillary instruments.
It claimed AMMBAN had received service of the ONC. Additionally, it was mentioned that not all members may receive personal service or knowledge by serving on AMMBAN.
“In addition, some people, like non-AMMBAN members, may become subject to the ONC,” it continued. As a result, the Commission has done so before and is doing so once more. Members are encouraged to take into account the ONC’s deemed appropriate and acceptable service to their association or executives under Section 158(4) of the FCCPA.
The commission claims that after attempting a cautious and cooperative strategy, it has now adopted the ONC to express its intent to enforce the law, including up to and including prosecuting offenders and affiliates who may otherwise be statutorily accountable for the actions of a violating firm or business.
“In addition to the stipulated statutory consequences,” it continued, “the Commission will (if it becomes necessary) prohibit merchant services and privileges to PoS operators or AMMBAN members who persist in behavior that is inconsistent with the law and economic efficiency, although the Commission prefers not to disrupt the business and operations of small enterprises.”