• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

POS operators grapple with skyrocketing paper expenses in Plateau

PoS, cheque usage falls on bank transfers’ surge

A quiet yet significant struggle pervades the world of Point of Sale (POS) operators in Jos, Plateau State, amidst the hum of transactions and the clatter of commerce, these operators now grapple with the soaring cost of paper.

For these unsung heroes of the local economy, every roll of paper represents not just a consumable, but a burden that threatens their livelihoods.

From small roadside kiosks to market stalls, these operators play a crucial role in facilitating cashless transactions in a cash-dominated society. Yet, despite their indispensable service, they face a relentless challenge that threatens to undermine their efforts.

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The root of this challenge lies in the ever-increasing cost of thermal paper, the lifeblood of POS operations. Once an affordable commodity, the price of thermal paper has skyrocketed in recent months, leaving operators scrambling to keep up. With profit margins already razor-thin, the burden of expensive paper weighs heavily on their shoulders.

In an interview with a POS operator at Rantiya in Jos, Mark Jen lamented the impact of high paper costs on their businesses.

“It’s a constant struggle. Every time I restock paper, I feel like I’m watching my profits evaporate before my eyes.”

Another operator who gave her name as Clare told BusinessDay “Before, the paper was N1,500 but it’s now N2000 and N2,400 respectively It’s quite challenging and that is why I have increased charges from N100 per N10,000 to N200 naira”; Clare said.

For many operators, the cost of paper represents a significant portion of their overhead expenses. With rent, utilities, and other operational costs already stretching their budgets to the limit, the additional burden of expensive paper threatens to push them over the edge. Some have been forced to pass on the cost to customers, further straining already tight household budgets.

Beyond the immediate financial strain, the high cost of paper also undermines the sustainability of POS operations in Jos. With profit margins dwindling and overhead costs rising, many operators find themselves questioning the viability of their businesses in the long term. Some have been forced to scale back their operations or seek alternative sources of income to make ends meet.

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The ripple effects of this struggle are felt not only by individual operators but by the communities they serve. In some areas where access to banking services is limited, POS operators play a vital role in bridging the gap between cash and digital transactions. Yet, as the cost of paper continues to rise, the accessibility of these services is called into question, leaving many underserved and excluded from the formal financial system.