In a significant move aimed at protecting the integrity of the nation’s currency and ensuring fair financial practices, the House of Representatives on Thursday issued a stern warning to Point-of-Sales (POS) operators. The warning comes in the wake of reports indicating the sale of Naira notes and the imposition of excessive charges on customers across the country.
The House’s decisive action unfolded during a session where Hon. Mohammed Dan Abba Shehu tabled a motion titled, “Need to Curb the Sale of Naira Notes by the Point-of-Sales (POS) operators in Nigeria.” The motion, adopted by the House, has far-reaching implications for the financial sector and the millions of Nigerians who rely on it.
At the heart of the matter is the alleged refusal of commercial banks to pay customers over the counter and at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). To address this issue, the House has mandated the Committees on Banking Regulations and Digital and Electronic Banking to summon the Minister of Finance and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for explanations.
The House’s concern extends beyond customer payments to the very nature of financial transactions facilitated by POS machines. In its resolutions, the House emphasized the need for the CBN to immediately commence thorough monitoring and supervision of commercial banks’ activities. The aim is to assess the extent of counterpayment to customers and ensure compliance with established regulations.
POS machines were introduced in Nigeria a few years ago as a technological solution to alleviate transaction challenges in commercial banks. This move significantly transformed the country’s financial sector by providing the public with a reliable alternative to traditional banking methods. However, recent reports have raised questions about the abuse of this technology.
Highlighting the global acceptance of POS machines, the House drew parallels with advanced economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, where these devices have seamlessly facilitated financial transactions without manipulation. The House sees this as an opportunity for Nigeria to embrace innovative trends that enhance financial inclusivity and transparency.
Sections 1 and 2 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 empower the CBN to regulate commercial banks and advise the government on financial matters. The House emphasized that the CBN should leverage these powers to ensure proper oversight, emphasizing the importance of instilling public confidence in the financial system.
Of particular concern to the House is the reported sale of Naira notes by POS operators at exorbitant prices. Instances have been cited where one thousand Naira is allegedly being sold for three to four hundred Naira, and ten thousand Naira is exchanged for four thousand Naira. Such practices, the House noted, contribute to the economic hardship faced by citizens.
As the Committees prepare to engage with the Minister of Finance, the National Planning and Budget, and the CBN Governor, the House aims not only to address the immediate concerns but also to establish a framework that ensures fair, transparent, and accountable financial practices. By doing so, the House seeks to guarantee the well-being of Nigerians and the continued stability of the nation’s financial sector.