The recent circulation of naira notes has forced Point of Sales (PoS) businesses to reduce their exorbitant charges to nearly what it was before the cash scarcity caused by the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN had recently confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of efforts to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
Praise Olatide, a student of the University of Lagos, told Businessday that the PoS operators in her estate at Ajah, in Lagos, now charge N100 per N1,000 compared to N300 a weak earlier.
“I wanted to withdraw N5,000 and I was charged N500 to my surprise because last week I withdrew N4,000 for N1,200,” she said.
Abubakar Teslim, a resident of Orile-Iganmu, said most PoS operators in the area had cut their charges.
“I think PoS charges are going back to normal; I withdrew N2,000 for N200 on Monday and N5,000 for N500; I’m glad things are normalising. They were making gains before cash crunch. I believe they can still make a profit without exploitation,” he said.
Anthony Micheals, a graphic designer living, said: “Over the weekend, I withdrew N14,000 for N400; this is very close to what they charged before, which was N200-N300 for N10,000-N15,000). I’m very happy about this new charges because I was really affected by the cash crunch and PoS agents’ exploitation so much so that I couldn’t go to work on some days.”
Since the cash crisis began early this year, a lot of Nigerians depended more on PoS operators for cash as there were long queues and cash withdrawal limits in banks.
According to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), PoS transactions increased to N807.16 billion in January 2023 due to the naira scarcity, a 40.69 percent year-on-year increase from the N573.72 billion transactions that were done in January 2022.
The total cashless transactions in Nigeria rose by 45.41 percent y-o-y to N39.58 trillion in January 2023.
Our correspondent went to several locations around Lagos and found that PoS businesses have reduced their fees significantly.
Read also: Nigerians get reprieve as cash scarcity eases
BusinessDay observed that many bank customers were able to withdraw cash from ATMs and over the counter, even without withdrawal limits in some places.
“At 9 am yesterday (Friday), at a Zenith branch in Obalende, I was able to withdraw N20,000 without a queue to my surprise. The fastest I have seen since the cash crunch,” Chukwuebuka Nnamdi, an automobile salesman, said.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) reportedly arrested PoS agents charging exorbitant fees in some states recently.
It is expected that as more cash gets into circulation, queues at banks will shorten and PoS operators’ fees will go back to what they were before the crash crisis started.
According to the data from the CBN, the currency in circulation declined by 29.2 percent to N982.1 billion in February, the lowest since October 2008, from N1.39 trillion in the previous month. It declined by 69.9 percent on a year-on-year from February 2022.