The federal government has asked point-of-sale, PoS, operators to desist from attempts to increase transaction fees, warning of serious consequences and sanctions.
The Lagos chapter of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) had announced a new price list for PoS transactions in the state.
Stephen Adeoye, the association’s spokesperson, during an interview with Channels Television on July 1, said the measure was put in place to deter fraud and stop overcharging by agents.
In response to the move in a statement on Wednesday, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) asked agent bankers to shun such plans.
According to the statement, signed Babatunde Irukera, FCCPC’s executive vice-chairman and chief executive officer, the agency said price-fixing was against the law and distorts the market, prevents innovation and efficiency, and impacts consumers negatively.
The commission said it is currently investigating the price-fixing attempts by the PoS agents and will sanction them if they are found guilty.
“The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (2018) (FCCPA) recognises indeed encourages the prerogative of businesses to organise
in, and as trade associations for acceptable purposes, such as ensuring and enforcing applicable standards and best practices, as well as a measure of self-regulation within the profession or trade,” the statement reads.
“However, the same FCCPA copiously and extensively limits the scope and extent of such collaboration, particularly to exclude coordination with respect to scope or supply of services and price of services.
“The FCCPA expressly prohibits any price-fixing or agreement among undertakings (whether bilaterally or multilaterally) or by undertakings acting in consensus on the platform, or under the aegis of an association to fix prices, coordinate supply or any other commercially sensitive factors that can limit or substantially prevent competition; or otherwise distort the market.”
The consumer protection agency stated that the FCCPA provides stiff penalties for “cartels or any similar coordinated or collusive conduct among competitors, even at association levels”.
The FCCPC said it will enforce the law to its fullest extent “where there is sufficient evidence that a business has, or is participating in any such prohibited conduct or arrangement either directly, or indirectly.”
“To the extent that any combination of undertakings, including AMMBAN indeed met, agreed, or decided to impose uniform or coordinated fees/tariffs for services this
announcement should serve to ensure such undertakings cease and desist from that arrangement or similar discussions/conduct.”