1.4 Million POS Owners May Lose Jobs – Bank Agents

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1.4 Million POS Operators

The National President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Victor Olojo, speaks to JOSEPHINE OGUNDEJI on the impact of the recent Central Bank of Nigeria’s cash withdrawal policy imposed on point of sale terminal operators

How would you describe the new CBN policy which has reduced cash withdrawal limits across all channels?

To start with, AMMAN as an association that recognises the effort of CBN in trying to fix the economy, drive down inflation rate, and put in place all necessary policies and mechanisms to ensure stability in the economy, particularly getting to the point of economic recovery, which is a good agenda. However, this new policy sets us back for certain reasons. Over the past decades, mobile money bank agents across the country have been putting efforts to drive financial inclusion. We have over 1.4 million mobile money and banking agents over the country who make a living in this job. We as an association have over the years tried to align with the objectives and goals of the CBN in terms of financial inclusion, and I can tell you that many agents across the country have committed decades of their lives to go into those local government areas where banks are not present to serve and deliver financial services. The efforts of many agents have yielded positive gains for the country. Right now, we have over 60 per cent of Nigerian adults who are already financially included, which was not the case a decade ago. In the long run, we feel really disturbed by this policy of the Federal Government because the policy would render over 1.4 million Nigerians jobless, inclusive of their dependants and employees. With the support we render to small businesses, I can assure you that if you do a little research by going to the marketplace, you would see clear agents on the impact of money agents across the market. We are doing so well that we have made life very easy and meaningful for Nigerians.

The CBN has said the policy will complement the naira redesign initiative, don’t you think PoS operators’ desire for a reversal of this policy will affect the naira redesign initiative?

Not at all, point of sale operators are under the aegis of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria, are not calling for a reversal, we are only appealing for a review. When the stamp duty was introduced a few years ago, it had a blanket cover on all transactions, but when we appealed to the CBN, there was a review that led to an exemption from 0 – 10,000, there were no stamp duty charges, but for any transaction above 10,000, there were charges. So, our appeal to the CBN is that for mobile money agents in rural areas, particularly in locations where there are no banks, a limit of 20,000 should be reviewed for agents. We agents know ourselves, we know how to self-govern ourselves, we know those who are the real agents, and we are appealing to CBN to consider those of us who are accredited agents, and give us the opportunity to have something to help in serving Nigeria. Just to make it clear, we are not calling for a reversal, we are just calling for a review since agents are an extension of banks and cash is still dominant in our economy. We are appealing that agents have access to more money, the limitation of N20,000 via PoS, or N100,000 over the counter won’t enable us to do anything.

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