FG Stops N50 Charge on PoS Transactions

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Davidson Iriekpen

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) yesterday stopped the additional N50 charge being imposed on transactions conducted on Point of Sale (PoS) machines.

This was made known in a statement by FCCPC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Babatunde Itukera and made available to journalists.

Irukera described the charge as counterproductive and burdensome on consumers.

In recent times, there has been significant contention with respect to merchant-imposed N50 stamp duty on consumers for POS transactions.

This imposed fee, which is said to have emanated from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was meant to be for consumers who select POS options to conclude their purchases or transactions.

But Irukera, in the statement, described the charge as “counterproductive” as it negates the effort of the apex bank to promote a cashless economy.

He said the merchants’ response of imposing this assessment on consumers was not only inconsistent with the cashless policy, but also counterproductive and burdensome to consumers.

He stated that businesses, by their very nature, already capture the operating cost price of their goods and services, adding that to impose an additional fee on consumers that is exclusive of price and discriminates based on the selected mode of payment essentially amounted to a penalty for the adopted mode of payment.

The statement read: “In recent times, there has been significant contention with respect to merchant imposed N50 stamp duty assessments on consumers for transactions. This imposed fee is supposedly a pass through for onward transmission as a government mandated surcharge.

“The FCCPC has robustly engaged the CBN on this issue, pursuant to S.17 (b), (f), (g), (i) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), including meetings of the highest levels of leadership of both regulators.

“The FCCPC’s strongly held position was that an assessment imposed on merchants necessarily is a component of their cost of doing business, and may only be directly passed on to consumer in limited circumstances.

“For many reasons, including and particularly the CBN’s effort to promote a cashless economy, the merchants’ response of imposing this assessment on consumers was not only inconsistent with the underlying policy, but also counterproductive and burdensome on consumers.

“Businesses, by their very nature, already capture the operating cost price of their goods and services. To impose an additional fee on consumers that is exclusive of price and discriminates based on the selected mode of payment essentially amounts to a penalty for the adopted mode of payment.

“The problems associated with carrying excessive cash in order to avoid a penalty are myriad and multifaceted.

“Accordingly, the Commission welcomes the CBN’s definitive statement on December 23, 2019, clarifying its September 17, 2019 directive by Circular Ref. PSM/Dir/CON/02/015 that the directive did not intend to pass such fees to consumers”.