, Crackdown on Unregistered PoS Operators: A Bid to Boost Security and Financial Inclusion in Nigeria -

Crackdown on Unregistered PoS Operators: A Bid to Boost Security and Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

By Abdullateef Togun

The Nigerian government is taking a firm stance on regulating Point-of-Sales (PoS) operators nationwide. This move, spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), mandates PoS operators to register their businesses with the CAC by July 7, 2024. This crackdown on unregistered operators aims to achieve several key objectives:

Combating Fraud and Ransom Payments: A significant concern driving this policy is the rise of fraudulent activities involving PoS terminals. The CBN reports that PoS terminals were responsible for over 26% of fraud incidents in 2023. Furthermore, authorities believe that unregistered PoS operators can facilitate ransom payments for kidnappings. By requiring registration, the government hopes to create a more transparent system, allowing security agencies to trace the individuals and businesses behind PoS transactions.

Strengthening Financial Inclusion: The government acknowledges the crucial role PoS agents play in expanding financial inclusion, particularly in rural areas. However, the current landscape, with a high number of unregistered agents, presents challenges. The CBN is aiming to strike a balance between boosting security and ensuring continued financial accessibility.

Promoting Legality and Standardization: The mandatory registration aligns with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 and CBN guidelines on agent banking. This initiative aims to bring PoS operations under a legal framework, ensuring they comply with regulatory requirements. Additionally, it seeks to standardize the PoS industry, promoting professionalism and enhancing customer trust.

Reactions and Concerns:

The directive has sparked mixed reactions from PoS operators. While some support the move towards increased security and standardization, others express concerns. Here’s a breakdown of the key viewpoints:

Supporters: The immediate past president of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), Victor Olojo, sees this as a positive step towards better regulation and enhanced security. He believes it will weed out unqualified operators and allow legitimate businesses to flourish. Additionally, a PoS agent, Sunday Samuel, applauds the initiative’s potential to standardize the industry.

Concerns: The National President of AMMBAN, Sarafa Fasasi, questions the impact on financial inclusion, particularly for sub-agents in rural areas who might struggle with the registration process. Another PoS agent, Ogunfowokan Temitope, highlights the financial burden this could place on small operators who might have borrowed capital to start their businesses. Taiwo Shobowale raises concerns about the short timeframe for registration and the potential strain on the CAC system.

The success of this initiative hinges on effective communication and support for PoS operators. The government’s establishment of a 24-hour service center at the CAC to address inquiries and expedite approvals is a positive step. Additionally, collaborating with AMMBAN to educate and guide PoS operators through the registration process can ensure a smoother transition.

While challenges exist, the government’s determination to regulate PoS operations demonstrates its commitment to tackling fraud, promoting financial inclusion, and fostering a more robust and secure financial ecosystem in Nigeria. Continuous dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders will be crucial in achieving these goals.

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