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Nigeria: FCCPC Vows to Tackle PoS Price Fixing Amidst Disregard from AMMBAN

In a decisive move to safeguard consumer rights and foster healthy market competition, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has delivered a stern warning to point of sales (PoS) operators across the nation, with a particular focus on Lagos. They condemn the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) for attempting to fix charges, stating that such actions are against the law and will face strict consequences. FCCPC remains committed to ensuring fair competition and safeguarding consumer rights.

FCCPC has reaffirmed its commitment to combat price fixing in the Point of Sale (PoS) business sector. In a statement released, the Commission declared its dedication to utilizing an advocacy approach while not hesitating to impose penalties when necessary.

Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, sternly warned against the formation of a PoS business cartel that would attempt to manipulate prices. He expressed deep concern over recent statements made by executives of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN), indicating their disregard for previous warnings issued by the Commission.

Addressing the matter, Irukera emphasized that the FCCPC is not weak and takes its responsibilities seriously. The Commission’s advocacy approach, he clarified, is intended to ensure compliance with the law, particularly in an industry dominated by young Nigerians who have created jobs for themselves.

“It is important to recognize that membership in AMMBAN likely comprises mostly small businesses that provide employment opportunities to young and vulnerable citizens,” Irukera stated. “Our approach of advocacy and business education aims to encourage adherence to the law without being punitive, yet firm enough to promote compliance.”

The FCCPC CEO further clarified that the Commission has not sought to interfere with the discretion of PoS service providers to determine and set their own service prices. However, he reminded all parties of Section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA), which prohibits manifestly unjust or exploitative pricing practices.

To enforce compliance and penalize violations, the FCCPA empowers the Commission with statutory tools, some of which include stringent penalties. Babatunde Irukera emphasized that the Commission’s consideration for small businesses should not be mistaken for leniency when it comes to enforcing the law.

“For those who violate our orders, there will be additional consequences, apart from the underlying illegal conduct. Corporate entities could face penalties of up to N10 million, and individuals could be fined up to N1 million or sentenced to prison for up to three months,” he warned.

While the FCCPC strives not to disrupt the operations of small enterprises, Irukera asserted that the Commission would take decisive action, including prohibiting merchant services and privileges for PoS operators or AMMBAN members who persist in violating the law or economic efficiency.

The FCCPC CEO urged all PoS operators and AMMBAN members to adhere to the law and ensure fair practices in the PoS business sector. He emphasized that the Commission’s dedication to enforcing compliance remains non-negotiable, with the aim of fostering a competitive and transparent business environment for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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