The Central Bank of Nigeria is planning to crack down on unauthorized Point of Sales (POS)operators in the nation, according to Victor Olojo, national president of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, he stated that the apex bank intended to clean up the sector in light of its part in advancing the cashless policy. He indicated that the people who would be struck the most were agents who sold PoS services and operated behind umbrellas.
He said, “Agents must wake up, there are rules. Agents operating under an umbrella, agents hawking PoS services, all these things would soon be curtailed. The CBN is coming with a sledgehammer very soon on agents operating outside its guidelines.
“Some of these agents are not properly registered; the minimum accepted is a kiosk, an identifiable address.”
He pointed out that cash withdrawals must be kept discreet, and agents must make sure their clients may conduct business in enclosed areas.
In 2023, more PoS transactions are anticipated. The CBN has a regulation that restricts withdrawals for both people and corporations, “Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/PoS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions.”
Commenting on this expected growth, Olojo said, “For now, the industry is still on an upward growth. We are still growing upwardly, there is still room for a lot of growth.
“It is part of the financial inclusion agenda. Everything is in line. We need to have as many agents come into the system until we get to a saturation point. We are not there yet.
“Although, more agents are needed in the rural areas than in the city and urban centers. We still expect more upward growth, because Fintechs are still coming up too.”
He claimed that because there was a government policy supporting the market and because agents were generating money, it was still far from being saturated.
“So yes, the cashless policy is a major factor why we have an increase in the number of agents,” he said.
Even though there had been some initial concerns about an increase in PoS transaction charges, Olojo stated that this was quite improbable.
He said, “As regards charges, the CBN is currently working out a plan for mobile money and agents to have access to funds. This is to those that are credible, those that are properly registered. The five per cent or three per cent that applies to people that are taking more than is required from the banks may not apply to mobile agents.
“So, there would be no need for an increment in charges. However, if that doesn’t come in in time, obviously the cost will be transferred.”
There are 986,252 registered PoS terminals in Nigeria, according to the NIBSS (this is based on the last time it updated this record, July 2021). As of January 2023, 955,234 PoS terminals were deployed globally. Nevertheless, there are approximately 1.4 million mobile money and banking agents, according to Olojo.