The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in Nigeria has issued a call to the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) and Point of Sale (PoS) Operators to refrain from coordinating efforts to uniformly determine or implement changes in the prices of their services. In a press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, the commission expressed concern over the adamance displayed by AMMBAN and their insistence on implementing illegal practices on a membership-wide scale.
The commission specifically addressed news reports indicating that a supposed national publicity secretary of AMMBAN had dismissed regulatory statements while affirming a resolve to execute illegal practices, involving a concerted and coordinated approach to fixing and implementing prices or price modifications.
The FCCPC emphasized that such statements and conduct are worrisome and may result in penalties for illegal conduct. The commission emphasized that adherence to the law is essential, especially since AMMBAN’s membership is largely comprised of small businesses that create employment opportunities for young and vulnerable citizens.
In an effort to promote compliance, the FCCPC has adopted advocacy and business education as tools to enforce obedience to the law. The commission views this approach as prudent and proportional, aiming to maintain a fair, competitive, and undistorted market, while respecting the prerogative of PoS service providers to determine their prices, within the boundaries of Section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA). This section prohibits manifestly unjust or exploitative prices.
The commission emphasized that it encourages a pricing methodology that is a product of market forces in a free, competitive, and undistorted market, allowing consumers to benefit from choices and favorable prices while ensuring profitability for PoS operators.
Babatunde Irukera stressed that the FCCPA equips the commission with statutory tools to ensure compliance and penalize violations of the law. Violation of an order from the commission may attract significant consequences, with penalties of up to N10,000,000 for corporate entities, and N1,000,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to three months for individuals. The commission prefers not to disrupt the business and operations of small enterprises but will resort to prohibiting merchant services and privileges for PoS operators or AMMBAN members who persist in non-compliant conduct.
The FCCPC’s call to adhere to pricing regulations underscores its commitment to maintaining a fair and transparent marketplace, safeguarding the interests of consumers and businesses alike. As the situation develops, PoS operators and AMMBAN members are urged to comply with the commission’s regulations to avoid the potential legal consequences.