Over 50 per cent of Point of Sale operators have closed their shops as scarcity of new and old naira notes bites harder, it has been learnt.
The National Chief Aggregating Officer of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Hussein Olanrewaju, who made this disclosure on Monday, said the impact of the ongoing shortage of new and old naira notes had worsened the plight of their members.
While noting that agents should be given preferential treatment in access to the new notes, he lamented that some Nigerians had taken advantage of the situation to charge unreasonable fees.
He said, “Operators are licensed bodies that provide platforms which agents leverage on. Currently, agents do not have any preferential treatment to deliver this service, hence, more than 50 per cent of agent shops have been closed down as we speak.
Some agents, however, go extreme to buy these monies and those who do not, move from one ATM point to another incurring lot of cost in the process which will also reflect on the service charge.
“It’s worthy to note that some Nigerians have taken advantage of this situation to charge people unreasonable charges.”
Hussein further stressed that the ongoing policy meant to swap cash in unbanked areas might not achieve its mandate due to the low number of agents selected for the scheme.
He added that including more agents remained the best solution to easing the financial stress Nigerians were currently facing.
“As designed by the CBN, the exercise is going as expected. However, it doesn’t really translate to profit for agents. Out of over 1.4 million agents, only 30,000 agents were picked to participate in the cash swap programme, the number is too small and can barely effect any change.
“Agents are the ones available and accessible to ease the financial stress Nigerians are currently facing,” he concluded.