FCCPC warns PoS operators against price fixing
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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has advised point of sales (PoS) operators in the country, especially in Lagos, against price-fixing or forming a cartel.
FCCPC moved against the indiscriminate increase of charges, noting that the law frowns at attempts by the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) to fix charges.
The Commission, in a statement released yesterday, said it would continue to use the advocacy approach while it would not hesitate to impose penalties when necessary.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, the Commission would not allow any attempt to create a PoS business cartel that fixes prices.
While frowning at AMMBAN’s disregard for its previous warning, Irukera said the Commission was concerned about statements emanating from the executives of the association.
Faulting some claims by AMMBAN leadership, the FCCPC CEO reminded the public that the Commission “is not weak”, stressing that the body adopted advocacy to enforce compliance with the law because the PoS business is dominated by young Nigerians, who create jobs for themselves.
“Considering that membership of AMMBAN probably consists mainly of small businesses and creates employment for young and mostly vulnerable citizens, the Commission adopted advocacy and business education as the tool to promote and enforce obedience to the law.
“This is a prudential, not weak or helpless approach to ensuring compliance, and it underscores the Commission’s proportionality approach to its consequence management system and interpretation of the law,” he said.
According to him, the Commission has not sought to limit the prerogative of PoS service providers to determine and set prices for services in a manner of their choosing subject to Section 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA), which prohibits manifestly unjust or exploitative prices.
The FCCPC boss added that the FCCPA provides the Commission with statutory tools to ensure compliance and penalise violations of the law. As previously noted, some of these penalties are stiff.
He added that while the Commission continues to provide consideration to, and for small businesses, enforcing the law must remain non-negotiable.
He advised PoS operators that violation of an order of the Commission attracts additional consequences apart from the underlying illegal conduct that is the subject of the order such as up to N10 million for corporate entities and N1 million and or a prison sentence of up to three months for individuals.
“In addition to stipulated statutory consequences, although the Commission prefers not to disrupt the business and operators of small enterprises, it will, (if it becomes necessary) prohibit merchant services and privileges to PoS operators or AMMBAN members, who persist in conduct that is inconsistent with law and economic efficiency,” Irukera stated.
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