50% PoS operators close shops over naira scarcity

According to reports, more than half of POS operators have closed their doors as the scarcity of new and old naira notes bites harder.

Hussein Olanrewaju, National Chief Aggregating Officer of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, stated on Monday that the impact of the ongoing shortage of new and old naira notes had worsened the plight of their members.

While acknowledging that agents should be given priority access to the new notes, he lamented that some Nigerians had taken advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant fees.

"Operators are licensed bodies that provide platforms on which agents can leverage," he explained. Currently, agents are not given preferential treatment in providing this service, and as a result, more than half of all agent shops have closed down.

"Some agents, however, go extreme to buy these monies and those who do not, move from one ATM point to another incur lot of cost in the process which will also reflect on the service charge.

"It is worth noting that some Nigerians have taken advantage of this situation to charge people exorbitant fees."

Hussein also stated that the ongoing policy aimed at exchanging cash in unbanked areas may fail to meet its objectives due to the small number of agents chosen for the scheme.

He went on to say that adding more agents was the best way to alleviate the financial stress that Nigerians were currently experiencing.

"The exercise is proceeding as planned by the CBN. However, it does not translate into a profit for agents. Only 30,000 agents were chosen from over 1.4 million to participate in the cash swap program; this number is insufficient to make a significant difference.

"Agents are available and accessible to alleviate the financial stress that Nigerians are currently experiencing," he concluded.

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