Mobile money operators, under the auspices of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN) have decried the directive of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) mandating all Point Of Sale (POS) agents to register with the commission.

At a press conference held over the weekend in Lagos, the group insisted that the reason tendered by the commission that the registration was to curb crime in the Fintech space was not tenable, maintaining that it was purely a revenue drive agenda.

The national general secretary of the group, Oluwasegun Elegbede while speaking on on behalf of the President of the association, Fasasi Sarafsdeen Atanda said: “The Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN) strongly disagrees with the recent directive by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that all POS agents must register with it, regardless of their status as individuals or non-individuals. We believe this directive is unnecessary, contradictory to existing laws, and amounts to a mere revenue generation move to further tax hapless Nigerians.”

AMMBAN maintained that the reason that the directive was designed to curb crime in the financial space was not tenable. “We disagree with CAC’s claim that it wants to fight crimes in the agency banking business space through registration. We believe that the kind of crimes in space are both human and technical, which CAC registration cannot fight,” he stressed.

Referring to Section 18 (1) of CAMA which states that, ‘A person may apply to the commission for the registration of a company’ and section 22(1) states that ‘A company shall be deemed to be a separate legal entity from its members.’

The group insisted that, what this means is that individuals and non-individuals (companies) have different legal statuses and requirements. Moreover, the CBN policy on financial inclusion and development stated that, “agency banking services shall be provided by agents who are individuals or non-individuals (companies) registered with the CBN (Section 2.1). The group disclosed that the policy clearly recognized the distinction between individuals and non-individuals and does not require individuals to register with CAC.”

AMMBAN disclosed that it has made and is still making spirited efforts in combating the issue of crimes within their business space, and condemned the insistence of CAC to deploy the police to execute the directive against those who fail to register their business by July 7.

The group denied allegations credited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that AMMBAN members are colluding with staff of banks to hoard cash or engage in buying and selling of cash. Aside from asserting that the allegation was misleading, they also stated that it is damaging to the reputation of their members who are law-abiding citizens. “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 very convenient cost to serve,” he said, while calling on the commission to endeavour to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

AMMBAN also categorically denied allegation that her members are responsible for scarcity of cash, adding that, her members are also facing similar challenge because their agents are not given any preferences in accessing cash from the bank, saying, “It has been a long standing demand that the CBN categorise agencies into different tiers to enable them to have access to cash, rather than seeing them as individuals with a limit of N500000. This will help to address the current cash scarcity and promote financial inclusion.”

The group further said, they reject the CBN ‘s policy limiting multiple accounts/wallets to two. They added that the policy has crashed the agent network category and is an attack on financial inclusion, saying, “We urge everyone to work together to promote financial inclusion and economic growth, rather than engaging in activities that can undermine the progress made so far.”

Chairman of AMMBAN, Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda disclosed that their members have lost millions of jobs due to inconsistent policies in the Fintech space. “People are asking us why we are taking this step, we are taking this step to save millions of jobs in Nigeria, because it is not just about POS, it is actually beyond POS.

“We know the implications of most of these policies that are not well thought out and their impacts on the economy generally. As of today since the beginning of the cashless policy and the cash redesign policies last year, to the level of NIN and BVN linkage and then the recent policies of asking all agents to go and register with CAC, and lots of policies being dished out to providers internally via internal memo, such as restriction on how many accounts an agent can have, all these policies have led to the following statistics: We have lost over 1.5 million jobs in the last one year,” he pointed out.

He said there are over 3.7 million POS in circulation as of today, but the service providers were only able to deploy 2.7, leaving the gap of one million POS amounting to a loss of 1million jobs in Nigeria.