In recent weeks, the scarcity of naira notes has led to a surge in the number of complaints from bank customers about overcharging by PoS operators. Reports from several sources indicate that PoS agents have been demanding exorbitant fees from customers in exchange for cash withdrawals. In response to these complaints, Mr. Joseph Omayuku, the Deputy Director of the Currency Operations Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has issued a stern warning to PoS agents engaging in illegal activities.
Mr. Omayuku cautioned groups involved in illegal activities to stop immediately, emphasizing that the CBN is committed to ensuring that all financial transactions in the country are conducted within the confines of the law. He urged the public to report any PoS agents who engage in wrongdoing, including the sale of new naira notes or charging more than N200 for withdrawals up to N10,000. He provided the CBN's contact center's details, including a phone number (07002255226), telephone extension (711025 - 7),
email address ([email protected]), and social media handles, for individuals to report any incidents.
The CBN's intervention comes at a critical time when many Nigerians are grappling with the impact of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The high demand for cash has led to a scarcity of naira notes, making it difficult for many bank customers to access cash through ATMs or over the counter. Consequently, many Nigerians have resorted to using PoS terminals to withdraw cash, making them vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous agents.
The overcharging by PoS agents is not only illegal but also unethical. It undermines the efforts of the CBN to promote financial inclusion and deepen the country's payment system. The CBN has introduced several initiatives in recent years to encourage the use of electronic payment systems and reduce the dependence on cash. These initiatives include the introduction of the cashless policy, the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, and the promotion of mobile money services.
However, the success of these initiatives hinges on the availability of cash and the accessibility of electronic payment channels. Overcharging by PoS agents not only discourages the use of electronic payment channels but also erodes public trust in the financial system. It is, therefore, imperative that the CBN takes decisive action to address the problem and protect the interest of bank customers.
The CBN's intervention in the matter of overcharging by PoS agents is a welcome development. It sends a clear message to unscrupulous agents that the CBN will not tolerate any illegal activities that undermine the country's financial system. It also provides an avenue for bank customers to report incidents of wrongdoing and seek redress. However, it is equally important that the CBN continues to pursue policies that promote financial inclusion, deepen the payment system, and reduce the dependence on cash. This will not only enhance the efficiency of the financial system but also improve the welfare of Nigerians.