Financial transactions carried out via the Point of Sales (POS) terminals in November 2022 hit N759.2 billion, the highest in the last 11 months of the year. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which revealed this, also informed that the total number of POS terminals deployed by merchants and others in Nigeria grossed 1.62 million in November. This was coming as POS agents lamented cash rationing by banks, especially since the announcement of the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ‘cash withdrawal limit’ and introduction of the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.
Angela Nnanna, a POS agent in Ajao Estate, a suburb of Lagos, said since the introduction of the new naira notes, it had become difficult to get cash from banks. On 20 December, she had gone to her new generation bank to withdraw N500, 000. After waiting for three hours, she was only handed N100, 000. The cashier told her she acted on the instruction from a superior officer. “I went to meet the Bank Manager. He said they didn’t have cash because of the instructions from the CBN. That was how I left,” she said.
Another agent, Sulaimon Saka, who said almost the same thing as Nnanna added: “What I learnt from a top official of my bank was that some banks were warehousing the new naira notes for some politicians, especially as the elections draw near. I think the CBN should look into this and further make the new policy friendlier and make cash more available to the people.”
The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System statistics showed that a total of 703, 208 POS terminals were deployed from January to November 2022. NIBSS data showed that a total of 2.363 million POS machines had been registered across the country as of November 2022, meaning that some 744,987 terminals were either yet to be deployed or they had become inactive. In the context of transactions, the November figure showed a 35 per cent increase when compared with the N560.2 billion recorded in the same month the previous year.
It can be deduced from NIBSS data that in the last 11 months of 2022, Nigerians spent a total of N7.56 trillion in POS transactions. When the December value is added, the sum would surpass the amount recorded in the full year 2021, which stood at N6.4 trillion.
Indeed, the POS service has created job opportunities for several Nigerians, especially the youths. Though there has been an adjustment on the new CBN policy, which is expected to take effect this January, the agents noted that the impact of the policy would still be felt greatly in their operations.
Earlier in an interview, the National President of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN), Victor Olojo, warned that massive job loss looms in the country if the policy was not reviewed upwards. The association made specific demands that included an upward review of the maximum withdrawal limit to N500, 000 weekly for individuals and N3 million for corporate organisations. AMMBAN also said it would continue to engage critical stakeholders on the development. “AMMBAN believes that the cashless policy in its current state hasn’t provided for Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria adequately. Even though the CBN Governor referred to the fact that Mobile Money and Bank Agents are spread across the country, which is one of the reasons why he strongly feels the country is ready for the cashless policy, the document puts the jobs of over 1.4 million agents on the line in its present state. This and many other germane reasons informed the decisions of the Association to engage the CBN, the National Assembly, and other relevant stakeholders. This is to ensure that while we show support for the cashless policy of the government through the CBN, the policy should recognize the categorization of agents’ accounts as it does individuals and corporate entities,” Mr Olojo said.