The various groups of mobile money agents in the country have come together and are threatening an industrial action against MTN by May 10, 2023 if MTN Mobile Money Limited does not address their concerns.
Key among their concerns were delays in paying agents’ commissions, lack of transparency in the computation of commissions and the fact that those commissions have seen no upward adjustment over the last ten years.
They have warned that if nothing is done about their concerns by the said date, they will undertake an industrial action which will include making MTN customers pay extra for the services of the agents.
The groups comprise of Mobile Money Advocacy Group (MoMAG), Northern MoMo Agents Association of Ghana (NoMAAG), Mobile Money Agents Association of Ghana (MMAAG) and ABAG.
In a joint statement, signed by the Presidents of all the four groups, they said MTN is the only industry player that treats agents in that manner.
They alleged that for the past two years, payment of agents commissions have become problematic, which is “highly insensitive especially in a time of economic difficulty and astronomical cost of running business for Agents. It is not fair for agents to work for a particular month and be paid the following month.”
According to them, under the guise of auditing, payments of agents monthly commissions are unduly delayed making the “pittance” devalue due to the current inflationary situation in the country.
“We wish to state that our members are already battling for their lives and cannot have their patience stretched any longer. Some Agents do not even get paid at all and struggle to make ends meet,” the statement said.
According to them, very often their members have had to make distress calls to MTN to check on delayed commission payments, which is totally unacceptable.
“Under no circumstances should our members be making distress calls to MTN to get information about delayed payments only to be told it is because of auditing,” the statement said.
They also accused MTN of lack of transparency in commissions paid to Agents, saying that Agents are not privy to how the commissions are computed.
”It is only the company (MTN) that determines what an Agent deserves as commissions without any system for verification and reconciliation,” they alleged, adding that “This amounts to unfair treatment to the Agent. For the records, Agents do not experience this delay in monthly commission’s payment from other industry players.”
The statement said MTN uses two payment cycles – 15th and 27th of the following month – which is very disturbing and causing much discomfort, so they want MTN to revert to the former payment method where all members are paid at the same time.
They also noted that for over a decade of doing business, Agents have not witnessed any upward reviews in their commissions even though they offer critical services to the economy.
The agents stated that their contribution to the spike of MoMo uptake cannot be overemphasized and therefore, they deserved better conditions of service, particularly from MTN.
The Agents Network, they said, plays critical role in the growth of the industry and so they need to be handled and treated as partners.
“We have on countless occasions registered our displeasure and it appears very little or nothing is done about it,” the said.
The leadership of the four groups said they are now at their wits end, after having managed members’ agitations for years with the expectation that MTN will heed their cry and do something about their complaints, but no.
It is therefore against this background, that leadership of the Unions is calling on Mobile Money Limited and other relevant Agencies to address several concerns such as commissions increment, transparency, blocking of Agents accesses, high rate of fraud, and cost of doing business.
Find the agents’ list of 14 demands below:
1. That given the rising cost of operations including high cost of liquidity management, Agents are not able to accept the static commission structure for the past 13 years. We propose that the cash in Commission cap be moved from Gh¢ 1,000 to Gh¢ 3,000 cedis whiles the 0.5% rate is maintained. Failure to do something about the status quo will have operational implications for Agents and customers alike.
2. That the cash out commission shares should be made 50%.
3. That the maximum amount per cash out is Ghc1000
4. That we are unable to cooperate with the two payment cycles that is 15th and 27th of the following Month for payment of previous month commissions to our members.
5. That workers need to be paid, facilities need to be serviced, and taxes need to be paid same as utilities and management of business.
6. That further delay in payment reduces the purchasing power of what is paid Agents due to the current inflationary rate and cost of service availability.
7. That auditing and validation as the cause of the current undue delay, cannot be justified hence we want all our members to be paid the same date on or before 15th of each Month
8. That it was totally wrong to unilaterally decide on payment in batches without prior agreement with leadership
9. That the Business is very opaque in dealing with Agents commissions.
10. That lack of transparency is very retrogressive and only confirms the fact that MML must not be trusted and the agitations by the Agents network is justified.
11. We call with immediate effect, that cash in commission checker should be restored to bring some level of transparency in the business.
12. Agents do not struggle to see what they worked for with other Service providers. This will help us reconcile payment received at the end of Month and in the spirit of fairness and transparency.
13. EVD reversal charges should be cancelled
14. That following the above request, the charges be increased from 1%-1.5% capped at GHC1000 since we can no longer cash out and cash in an amount of Ghc5000 and be paid Ghc4 and Ghc5 commissions respectively.
“Consequently, if the status quo should remain same latest by 10/05/2023, the entire Agents across the country will be left with no option than to take an industrial action which has the potency of service disruptions including customers preparing to pay a fee to access our services,” warned.