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PoS Operators Take CAC To Court

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In response to the directive by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for Point of Sales (PoS) operators to register with it, the body, the “Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN)” says it has concluded plans to head to court to address the legality of the directive.
President of the association, Fasasi Sarafadeen, faulted the directive mandating PoS operators to register with the CAC, saying the move had forced the association to go to court to seek a redress.
Sarafadeen said the directive from the CAC violated the provision of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which “explicitly states that the commission has no jurisdiction over individuals not operating as a company”.
“According to section 863(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2004, the order to enforce CAC directive on individual PoS agents operating under their name is wrong and will be challenged, as it contravenes the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which explicitly states that CAC has no jurisdiction over individuals not operating as a company.
“We shall challenge it legally. The court will have to intervene in the interpretation of the quoted section of the CAMA if individuals operating as a sub-agent (likened to a bank branch) must register with CAC.
“CBN is right, no issue, the memo is clear, it only applies to non-individuals, unlike the Corporate Affairs Commission who generalised. We are in talks with the lawyer representing the association already, and a league of human rights lawyers whom we are not disclosing who they are for now”, he said.
Explaining the categories, he stated that there were two categories of Point-of-Sale agents.
“CAMA only mandates registration of individuals operating as a company. There are two categories of POS agents: individuals and non-individuals. Individual agents operate under their names, such as Musa Caroline or Abubakar Audu, and are typically profiled with financial institutions under their names.
“Non-individual agents, on the other hand, operate under registered or unregistered business names, such as Wale Ventures or Johnson Enterprises.
“It is this second category of agents that the Corporate Affairs Commission can enforce the law on, as they are required to register their business names by the law”, Sarafadeen explained.
He noted that sub-agents are independent branches of a company already registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
“Sub agents are not carrying out as an independent company but branches of a company. For example, while commercial banks operate with bank branches across the country, Fintechs (MMO, super agents, and co) operate with a network of sub-agents.
“It is, therefore, lack of knowledge of the workings in a Fintech/agent banking industry to be tagging sub-agents as illegal”, he added.
According to the AMMBAN boss, the CAC should focus its efforts on addressing the high failure rate of registered businesses in Nigeria, rather than enforcing regulations on individual POS agents operating under their names.
“The Corporate Affairs Commission should prioritise addressing the alarming failure rate of registered businesses in Nigeria, rather than targeting sub-agents. With over 4.9 million businesses registered, 50 per cent of which fail every five years, this should be the focus.
“In addition, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s memo specifically addressed non-individual agents, not individual sub-agents, and CAC’s threat to harass sub-agents is unwarranted and excessive”, he added.
He noted that the clampdown on agent banking in the name of CAC registration was not in line with President Bola Tinubu’s renewed Hope agenda, which prioritises job creation and opposes policies that cause unemployment.
“We are aware that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not approved of any policy that will cause unemployment, noting that agent banking has created over 1.9 million jobs in the last few years. Clampdown in the name of CAC registration is not in line with the renewed Hope agenda of Mr. President and we are appealing to Mr. President, the Senate, and the House of reps to intervene as they did for the anti-masses policy of cyber security levy.
“CAC should be concerned about how 50 per cent of registered businesses in Nigeria fail within the first few years, resulting in growing unemployment year-on-year. Rather than embarking on policies that will eradicate entrepreneurs, escalate unemployment, and reverse the gains of financial inclusion in Nigeria”, he stated.
The Federal Government through the Corporate Affairs Commission had issued a two-month registration deadline for Point of Sales companies, to register their agents, merchants, and individuals with the commission in line with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Fintechs and the Registrar-General CAC, Hussaini Ishaq Magaji, in Abuja.
CAC said the move would curb kidnapping and payment of ransoms.
According to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, there are over 1.9 million PoS terminals deployed by merchants and individuals nationwide.
This new directive came against the backdrop of frequent fraud incidents involving POS terminals and plans to stop trading in cryptocurrency or any virtual currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria. POS terminals accounted for 26.37 per cent of fraud incidents in 2023, according to a fraud report by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc.
Last week, the CBN stopped major fintech firms like Kuda, Opay, PalmPay, and Moniepoint from onboarding new customers and instructed the companies to warn their customers against trading in cryptocurrency or any virtual currency on their apps, threatening to block any accounts found engaging in such activities.
The CBN’s move was linked to an ongoing audit of the Know-Your-Customer process of the fintechs, which have been under scrutiny in recent months over concerns around money laundering and terrorism financing.
Before the CBN’s directive, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had obtained a court order to freeze at least 1,146 bank accounts owned by various individuals and companies allegedly involved in illegal foreign exchange transactions.

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Trade Modernisation: Customs’ CG Tours Huawei, Port In China

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The Comptroller-General  of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, recently led his team to the Headquarters of Huawei, a famous information and communications technology company in Shenzhen, China, where he discussed opportunities embedded in Nigeria Customs Service Trade Modernisation Project.
This was disclosed in a press release made available to our correspondent in Lagos by the National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of the Service, CSC Maidawa yesterday.
According to the release, the CGC’s visit to Huawei Headquarters was part of his official visit to the People’s Republic of China for the 6th Global AEO Conference that took place in the city of Shenzhen between Wednesday, 8th May, Friday, 10 May, 2024.
Stating the purpose of his visit to the company’s office on behalf of his team, CGC Adeniyi said, “We are also delighted to associate with the Global Leader Technology Services through the Team of Trade Modernisation.”
It would be recalled that the Service had, during the Huawei Connect 2023 held in Shanghai in October, 2023, expressed readiness to deploy some of the company’s latest products for use in its trade modernisation project.
The CGC, who urged Huawei’s company leadership to sustain their digitalisation services to NCS, also sought their support to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service to maintain their transformative journey with the company.
On his part, Xujing Xu, the Huawei Company’s Vice President of Smart Transportation, welcomed the delegation of the NCS led by Adeniyi and the Management Team of the Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) Limited, led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.
He expressed confidence that their collaboration will benefit all parties involved, noting that “the foundational work for this transformation is already underway”.
The TMP Chairman, Saleh Ahmadu, during his address, said Huawei is living up to expectations to deliver its mandate under the auspices of Trade Modernisation Project Limited.
He appreciated the support accorded to him by the CGC and his management team towards the success of the NCS Trade Modernisation Project.
In his bid to upscale the level of NCS modernisation, the Comptroller-General of Customs, alongside members of the Trade Modernisation Project led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu, visited Lantan Port to witness the level of automation and technological solutions provided by Huawei and other tech partners.

In a related development, a training programme on Trends and Digital Solutions for Customs officials and the TMP team was organised by Huawei the same day, which focused on equipping officials with the necessary skills to navigate the digital landscape of modern trade.

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NERC Declares Most Discos Insolvent 

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Most of the lectricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria have been said to be technically insolvent and unable to not only pay for invoices sent to them from the electricity market, but also invest in network expansion projects.
Speaking at the 8th Africa Energy Market Place 2024 in Abuja, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba, said the poor financial state of the DisCos makes it difficult for them to raise the needed capital to invest.
Garba noted that the challenges facing the sector were a culmination of past inactions and missteps by those saddled with the responsibilities of managing the sector, both at policy and operational levels.
According to him, “Today when you look at distribution companies, they are clearly and technically insolvent, and you also want them to raise capital in terms of debt or equity. It’s a herculean task.
“I also want to mention that implementing the power sector reform requires powerful political will to implement decisions that impact the wider public”.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said the government was working to get the distribution companies solvent and effective by unbundling their operations along state boundaries.
Adelabu insisted that the areas covered by the current DisCos are too large for them to deliver effective services to consumers.

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PH To Get Two CNG Refuelling Stations, Vehicle Conversion Parks

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Rivers State Capital, Port Harcourt, is set to have two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations as well as two Vehicle Conversion Parks.
The Chief Executive Officer, FEMADEC Energy Limited, Fola Akinola, revealed this at the South-South/South-East Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Presidential Initiative on CNG held in Port Harcourt, Weekend
Akinola, who stated that modalities have been concluded on the project, stressed the need for investment by stakeholders as a way of driving home the initiative of the Federal Government to ease the gas plight of its citizens.
Akinola said, “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refuelling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.
“For those that want to invest in CNG refuelling units, it is available. Even those who have fuel station facilities can as well invest in this”.
Earlier, the Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Michael Oluwagbemi, noted that Rivers State was the heart of oil and gas Region, insisting that the initiative was for the good of the nation as a whole.
“The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region”, he stated.
Oluwagbemi, however, expressed regret that over the last five to six decades, these resources have continued to waste.
“Nigeria is the second largest waste of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it, then continue to suffer poverty. The President has set us on natural gas features and set up the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings. Mind you, the price of Natural gas is controlled by the government.
“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years, we are going to end the era of environmental degradation”, he said.
The Programme Director further said, “We will stop subsidising poverty, importing unemployment and exporting jobs.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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