The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has taken a firm stance against the planned increase in unified price-fixing on point of sale (PoS) charges by the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), Lagos Chapter.
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief executive Officer of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, in a signed statement, yesterday, threatened to sanction any PoS agent found culpable of fixing high prices.
While acknowledging the importance of preventing fraud and unjust prices, the commission emphasised that fixing prices is neither an acceptable nor proven method to achieve these goals.
The commission said that price-fixing distorts the market, hinders innovation and efficiency, and ultimately fails to benefit consumers or other businesses, except for those involved in such illegal conduct.
The FCCPC’s announcement comes in response to AMMBAN’s recent decision to increase the PoS charge per transaction.
The AMMBAN Lagos Chapter spokesman, Stephen Adeoye, said PoS agents had a new price list and working on creating a task force to enforce the changes.
He said: “To enforce this new price list is easy because we have a good relationship with the Lagos State Command, Police Force, and all the DPOs in the area. Very soon a task force will be set up in each zone so that they will work along with it.”
However, the FCCPC explicitly restricted the scope and extent of collaboration, specifically excluding coordination related to the supply and pricing of services.
The FCCPC called upon consumers to provide credible and useful information to aid in their investigation and enforcement efforts.
“The Commission would impose severe penalties on cartels or any similar coordinated or collusive conduct, even at the association level. Furthermore, the FCCPC affirmed its commitment to enforcing the law to its fullest extent whenever there is sufficient evidence of prohibited conduct or arrangements, whether direct or indirect, by businesses,” the statement said.
“The Commission is also opening an investigation to ensure the purported statement by AMBANN is not truly representative or erroneous.
Where evidence demonstrates that the statement is factually accurate, the Commission will take appropriate regulatory steps to address the conduct accordingly,” FCCPC added.