.We can’t survive with charges on us-Dealers
.It is difficult for oil merchants to absolve the new policy-Oil merchant.Charges place on fuel merchants means we will be running at a loss
Oil merchants in the country have lamented over 0.75 per cent to N50 Point of Sales (POS) charges currently levied on merchants by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).The apex bank in December 2019, had said N50 being charged Nigerians who use PoS machines for transactions is a misinterpretation of its directive by rogue merchants. Hence, urged customers not to pay N50 charge to businesses for using PoS.
Merchants, who spoke with our correspondent, however, argued that the current charges place on fuel merchants means they will be running there filling stations at a lost.
While given the analysis, they emphasised that every oil merchant has N2.36k per litre, which is called dealer margin and it is expected to cover all overhead cost, including taxes, adding that filling stations have to sell 21litres of fuel on a stretch to a customer that wants to pay with POS in order to make a margin.They pointed out that it is not feasible as most buyers buy at least 10litres at a stretch in most cases, in that case, the dealer’s margin is lost and there is nothing left for the dealer to eat and cover overhead expenses.
In an exclusive telephone chat with The Daily Times, an oil merchant, Mr Bassey Ehiett said that it is difficult for oil merchants to absolve the new policy, as the oil market is highly regulated and also the 50 per cent dealers margin has been wiped out with the initiation of the policy.
According to him, the cost of running a filling station is on the high side and also one have to cope with charges and taxes from all the three tiers of government, coupled with overhead costs of running a filling stations and now 0.75 per cent charges from the bank, this is just unbearable.
“When government is making a decision such as this, there should be an exception for the oil market. The market that is highly regulated in Nigeria today is the downstream sector, so filling stations should be excepted since it is already regulated and they can’t add additional cost to their products unlike other sectors”, he lamented.
Ehiett noted that increasing fuel price in Nigeria comes with turbulence, adding that dealers can’t increase fuel price and yet the additional burden is placed on them, which he described as unbearable.
He stressed that with the current 0.75per cent POS charges on dealers, the marketers’ margin is completely wiped out and the fuel matrix is gone, which invariably means they selling for the banks and running their business at a loss.
“The bank charges 0.75 per cent on POS turnover, no filling station can survive under such charge. What that implies is that one is selling for the banks”, he fumed.
It would be recalled that the Director, CBN payment system management, Musa Jimoh, had explained that the stamp duty is a fee regulated by an act.
Jimoh said, the CBN does not regulate the stamp duty, so they can’t change anything, as stamp duty as it is today has been misinterpreted.
He said the circular circulated a few months back stated merchants should pay stamp duty according to the law and not consumers but the directive was misrepresented.
“What our the directive says is that merchants should pay all necessary charges as regulated by the government agency including stamp duty. When there is an electronic transaction to an account other than a savings account and the transaction amount is more than N1,000, you have to pay stamp duty.
“Our explanation to banks is that we would like the merchants to comply with this directive by ensuring that every single payment customers make to them, the merchants pay the regulated stamp duty of N50″, he averred.
Jimoh said, merchants have transferred the fee blatantly and openly to the consumers, which he described has been wrong.
“No single individual should pay N50 in addition to the cost of goods or services, as stamp duty is not to be paid by individuals that are consuming the goods and services of the merchant but the merchants who are receiving the money are the ones who are supposed to pay”, he said.