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PoS Agent Registration: AMMBAN Cries Foul

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CEM REPORT, FINANCE| The recent directive by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) mandating the registration of all Point-of-Sale (PoS) operators in Nigeria has sparked controversy, with the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) expressing strong opposition.

AMMBAN, the umbrella body for mobile money and bank agents, argues that the registration is not only unnecessary but also a veiled attempt by the government to generate revenue through increased taxes.

AMMBAN Rejects Registration Mandate

In a statement released on Tuesday, Oluwasegun Elegbede, the National General Secretary of AMMBAN, vehemently disagreed with the CAC’s directive. He questioned the effectiveness of registration in combating PoS-related crimes, stating, “We believe the kind of crimes in the space are both human and technical, which CAC registration cannot fight.”

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According to the CAC, PoS operators have until July 7, 2024, to register their businesses. However, AMMBAN claims the CAC is already threatening to deploy the police against non-compliant agents.

Legal Inconsistencies: AMMBAN vs. CAC Interpretations

AMMBAN’s primary objection centers on the legal basis for the mandatory registration. The group argues that the CAC’s directive contradicts existing laws. They point to Section 18(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which states that “a person may apply to the Commission for the registration of a company,” implying that registration is not mandatory for individuals.

Furthermore, AMMBAN highlights the distinction between individuals and non-individuals recognized by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) policy on financial inclusion and development. This policy allows “agency banking services to be provided by agents who are individuals or non-individuals (companies) registered with the CBN.” AMMBAN emphasizes, “This policy clearly recognizes the distinction between individuals and non-individuals and does not require individuals to register with the CAC.”

Denial of Cash Hoarding Allegations

AMMBAN also addressed recent allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that PoS operators and banks are involved in cash hoarding. The association strongly condemned these claims, calling them damaging to the reputation of legitimate businesses.

“Our Association finds it criminal for anyone to buy and sell cash, as our role is to bring succour to the general populace at a convenient cost to serve,” the statement reads. AMMBAN urged the EFCC to provide concrete evidence instead of generalizations and avoid tarnishing the image of hardworking agents who play a crucial role in financial inclusion across Nigeria.

CAC’s Rationale for Registration

Earlier in May, the CAC announced the mandatory registration directive, claiming it was agreed upon with PoS operators following a meeting in Abuja. The Registrar-General of the CAC, Hussaini Magaji, stated that the registration aligns with legal requirements, CBN directives, and aims to safeguard businesses, customers, and strengthen the Nigerian economy. He cited Section 863, Subsection 1 of CAMA 2020 and the 2013 CBN guidelines on agent banking as legal justifications.

Read Also: CAC Takes Axe to 91,843 Companies: “Non-Compliance Won’t Be Tolerated”

If You Ask Me

The clash between AMMBAN and the CAC raises important questions about the regulation of PoS operators in Nigeria. While the CAC seeks to establish a more structured and secure financial ecosystem, AMMBAN advocates for a less bureaucratic approach that doesn’t burden individual agents.

Finding a solution that balances regulatory requirements with the needs of individual agents is crucial for ensuring the continued growth and success of Nigeria’s financial inclusion efforts. Whether AMMBAN’s legal challenge or the CAC’s enforcement prevails remains to be seen, but the outcome will undoubtedly impact the future of PoS operations in the country.

A well-considered approach that balances growth and regulation is vital to ensure that these crucial financial access points continue to thrive and contribute to the country’s economic development.

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