• Friday, July 12, 2024
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‘We didn’t fix new PoS prices,’ AMMBAN replies consumer agency

Nigeria’s e-payment channels record N356.47trn transactions in Q4

The Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents In Nigeria (AMMBAN) has responded to claims of going against the anti-competitive conduct of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), saying they didn’t fix new POS prices.

FCCPC has earlier cautioned AMMBAN, Lagos chapter, against the anti-competitive conduct in a statement by Babatunde Irukera, executive vice-chairman of FCCPC.

Victor Olojo, President of AMMBAN speaking with BusinessDay, said the association only released a price guild for its members and didn’t fix prices and has remained law-abiding over a decade of operation, protecting the rights and interests of mobile money and bank agents across the country.

“We are not in any price war. As a matter of fact, AMMBAN is a self-regulatory body. We regulate ourselves. We don’t fix prices. What was actually released by members of the state chapter was actually a price guide and not anything around fixing prices. As a matter of fact, the operators we have in Nigeria operate in a free market and that is the tenets AMMBAN is keeping. What was released was a price cap. We advised our agents not to charge beyond the fees. It is not price fixing.

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“AMMBAN does not have any regulatory power. We are not the regulator, we are just an association and umbrella body for mobile money and bank agents in Nigeria. And that is what it is. We have written to the FCCPC and we have explained our position. We have also stated categorically that our intention is not about pricing. We are not fixing prices,” AMMBAN said.

The association said the issue of the POS price increase is not as serious as purported as everything remains under control.

“We have received a letter from the FCCPC and replied to them. Again, AMMBAN as an association is committed to serving Nigerians as we have been doing and making life easy and better for Nigerians like we have been doing for over a decade. Agents have contributed immensely to the financial inclusion agenda of the federal government. Our contributions are very sterling with indelible marks that we have left in the sand of time.”

Citing its 2021 record, AMMBAN said they processed over N6.4 trillion in transactions to PoS and have done better in subsequent years with over 1.6 million PoS agents.

The mobile money and banking agent also stated that FCCPC can’t be everywhere and cannot push any enterprise to incur loss considering the current state of the country.

“They can’t be in over 1.6 million locations in Nigeria. It is still the effort of AMMBAN for us to work closely together. So if they are protecting the interest of Nigerians that is also our core job. We are not also taking out the fact that prices cannot remain as they are today. The fuel price is not the same, transportation price is not the same, and food prices are not the same. There is nothing that is the same. So, the FCCPC cannot force an enterprise to sell at a loss. That is not possible. I think their interest is whether we are fixing the price and it is very clear that AMMBAN is not fixing the price,” the association added.

The association called on relevant stakeholders including the FCCPC, the operators, banks, their agents and the association to come together and discuss and not one person trying to intimidate the other.

“The reality is the FCCPC cannot force agents to carry out transactions at a price that does not cover the operations cost of the business. That is a fact. Before the price surge, agents were actually giving out N10,000 for a service charge of N100 but today you cannot find that anywhere.

AMMBAN said they are meeting with the Lagos chapter to ensure there is uniformity, stating that any transactions below N5000 have no reason to be above N100 and above it should also not be above N200.