The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has admitted that the charges being levied by Paystack for its services on the dedicated BPF Online Payment Platform “are relatively on the high side.”
The Olumide Akpata-led NBA has also vowed to engage the service provider for a downward review of the charges which currently range between N177 to a maximum of N863 for SANs and Benchers, adding that lawyers who already paid the high charges would be refunded.
In a statement by the NBA National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Rapulu Nduka, the bar association indicated that Paystack may have hiked the charges without its consent, noting that “It was our understanding that the fees chargeable on the payment of 2022 BPF would not be different from what was paid last year.”
The association stated that it has started engaging Paystack for a downward review of the charges and that once a resolution is reached, “the charges will be reduced and those lawyers who already paid the higher sum will receive a pro rata refund of the charges paid.”
It is recalled that former NBA Lagos Branch Treasurer and erstwhile Financial Secretary, Mr. Phillip Njeteneh had in an article in CITY LAWYER chided NBA for the high charges, wondering whether the association retains a portion of the charges.
Below is the full text of the statement made available to CITY LAWYER.
BAR PRACTISING FEES – NBA’S POSITION AND NEXT STEPS ON TRANSACTION COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH ONLINE PAYMENTS
The leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has read several commentaries, and also received numerous calls, regarding the costs charged by NBA’s long-standing service provider (Paystack) for settling transactions on the BPF Online Payment Platform.
To be sure, the common theme of the complaints is that the transaction costs are exorbitant and need to be reviewed downwards. We have taken on board all the complaints and now respond as follows:
1. The leadership of the NBA is open to all criticisms aimed at advancing our common cause, improving our processes/systems, protecting the interests of our members and overall, moving our profession forward. The NBA therefore welcomes and appreciates the concerns that have, so far, been expressed on this issue.
2. For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no increase in the amount payable as BPF. The transaction costs (ranging from a floor of N177 to a maximum of N863 for SANs and Benchers) that members are charged when they pay their BPF online are wholly and exclusively due to Paystack for its services. No portion of those costs are shared with, or remitted to, the NBA.
3. Indeed, upon our review of the fees charged by Paystack for similar transactions in the past, such as payment of 2021 BPF and payment of fees for the 2021 NBA-AGC, the leadership of the NBA agrees that the current charges are relatively on the high side. It was our understanding that the fees chargeable on the payment of 2022 BPF would not be different from what was paid last year.
4. On the basis of the above, the NBA has started engaging with Paystack to review the charges downwards. This engagement has however been impacted by the public holidays albeit we expect that the issue will be resolved shortly.
5. Once this happens, the charges will be reduced and those lawyers who already paid the higher sum will receive a pro rata refund of the charges paid.
We thank you for your understanding.
Dr. Rapulu Nduka
Nigerian Bar Association
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