By Simeon OSAJIE
The Governor of The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has issued a directive for agents to avoid using Point of Sale (PoS) terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions.
According to Emefiele, the move is aimed at streamlining activities in agent banking while also ensuring that appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken by stakeholders.
“The CBN has noted that the agent banking initiative has led to the proliferation of financial services agents across Nigeria, resulting in a significant and growing portion of financial transactions being conducted through them.
“As a result of this directive, Section 8. 3 of the guidelines has been updated to highlight prohibited activities for agents. It states that ” an agent shall not accept deposit or allow withdrawal above an amount which shall be prescribed, from time to time by the bank.
“Additionally, agents shall not use the purchase option PoS Terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions,” he advised.
Going further, the CBN governor added, “the use of PoS terminals for cash-in and cash-out transactions has been a common practice among agents, as it allows for convenient and speedy transactions. However, this practice has led to an increase in failed transactions, as well as a shortage of cash in the system. The CBN hopes that this directive will help to address these issues, while also promoting the growth of agent banking in Nigeria.
“In recent years, agent banking has become increasingly popular in Nigeria, particularly in rural areas where access to financial services is limited. Agents provide a range of services, including cash withdrawals and deposits, bill payments, and money transfers. They also play a vital role in financial inclusion, as they help to bring unbanked and underbanked individuals into the formal financial system.
“However, the rapid growth of agent banking has also brought about a number of challenges, including issues related to security, regulation, and risk management. The CBN has been working to address these challenges, and this latest directive is part of its ongoing efforts to promote the safe and effective use of agent banking in Nigeria.
“While the directive may be seen as a setback for agents who rely on PoS terminals for their transactions, it is important to note that the CBN’ s decision is based on careful consideration of the risks and benefits of different payment methods. The use of PoS terminals for cashin and cashout transactions has been identified as a potential risk, and the CBN’ s directive is aimed at mitigating this risk while also promoting the growth of agent banking in Nigeria.
“In conclusion, the CBN’s directive to avoid using PoS terminals for cashin and cashout transactions is a significant development in the evolution of agent banking in Nigeria. While it may pose some challenges for agents in the short term, it is ultimately aimed at promoting the safe and effective use of agent banking while also ensuring that appropriate risk mitigation measures are taken by stakeholders. As such, it is a positive step towards promoting financial inclusion and ensuring that Nigeria’ s financial system remains secure and stable in the years to come, he said