Transaction fees charged by Point of Sale (PoS) operators have reduced as naira scarcity has begun to gradually ease following the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to dispense old notes to customers in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling.
On March 13, the CBN issued a statement signed by Isa Abdulmumin, its acting director of corporate communications, saying the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023.
This came after the presidency issued a statement on the same day, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari never told the CBN and the Attorney General of the Federation not to obey the order of the apex court.
Our correspondent visited some PoS operators in Lagos and they said they had reduced their charges as more naira notes had come into circulation.
Bilikisu Mohammed, a PoS agent at Mile 12 Market, Lagos, said she has reduced the charges on each withdrawal.
“I now charge N600 on every N10,000 unlike before when I was charging N3,000 on every 10,000. This is because we can now get money from the banks unlike before when we were forced to buy from filling stations or traders,” Mohammed said.
Dapo Olagoke, a PoS agent at Ketu Market, Lagos, said her charges have declined since banks commenced paying old N500 and N1,000 notes.
“There is more money in circulation now and you can get cash from the bank. We do not determine our charges; it is demand and supply that determine what we charge,” Olagoke said.
“I had to shut down my business owing to the naira scarcity as I couldn’t get cash to give to customers. I resumed my business when old notes became legal tender again as I can now get money from the bank,” he added.
Mary Anyawu, a PoS operator in Ojodu Berger, Lagos, said she now charges N400 on every N10,000 as against the N1,500 she was charging last week owing to the scarcity.
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At Festac, Julie Anyadike, a fashion designer, said she was a bit relieved from the burden of high charges from PoS operators since the naira crunch started. “Today, I was charged N1,000 for N10,000 as against N3,000 charge. I pray that they reduce it further,,” she added.
The volume of PoS transactions increased by 17.9 percent to 113.5 million in February 2023 from 96.3 million in January. The value of PoS transactions increased by 9.5 percent month-on-month from N807.2 billion to N883.5 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, who announced the naira redesign programme in October 2022, said recently, “We have also noticed that some Nigerians are capitalising on the old naira transition to charge exorbitant fees or demand cash payment on the false pretext that PoS machines don’t work, especially at petrol stations. These selfish actions for personal monetary gain are creating hardship for Nigerians and may come at the expense of fellow citizens’ lives and livelihood.”