Telecommunication giants, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have finally gotten a nod from the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) to go ahead with their proposed Payment Service Banks, two years after it was introduced into the country.
Both MTN and Airtel were granted approval in principle on Thursday, November and with this the number of PSBs in the country will rise to five from the current number of three. A statement from MTN Nigeria signed by its company secretary this morning, said it had gotten the nod from the apex bank for its own PSB, MoMo PSB.
Also the company secretary of Airtel Africa, Simon O’Hara said it had also gotten the go ahead for its own PSB, Smartcash. A statement by Airtel said it subsidiary, Smartcah PSB had “been granted approval in principle to operate a payment service bank business in Nigeria. Final approval is subject to the Group satisfying certain standard conditions within six months.”
Chief executive of Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, commenting on the development said “| am very pleased that Smartcash has been granted an approval in principle to operate a service bank business in Nigeria. We will now work closely with the Central Bank to meet all its conditions to receive the operating licence and commence operations.
“The final operating licence will enable us to expand our digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not have access to traditional financial services. I am looking forward to working closely with the Government, the Central Bank and traditional financial institutions to expand financial inclusion and meet the evolving needs of our customers and the economy.”
Commenting on the approval in principle granted it proposed MoMo PSB, MTN Nigeria said “this is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.
“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to the fulfilment. While we look forward to the eventual grant of a final PSB licence, we will continue to communicate material information in accordance with regulatory obligations and guidelines.”
PSB was introduced by the CB in 2019 as a measure to increase financial inclusion in the country particularly in rural areas. It had granted licenses to Hope PSB, 9PSB and Moneymaster PSB.