Nigeria’s Apex Bank To License 3 Telcos As Mobile Payment Agents

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that a framework to license super agent mobile money operators is in its final stage.

Three major telecommunications firms in the country are said to have applied for the super agent licence to enable widespread mobile money adoption across Nigeria, especially the rural areas.

The apex bank’s Director of Banking and Payments System, Dipo Fatokun, disclosed this yesterday at a three-day workshop organised by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) with te theme: Development in e-banking, Mobile Payment System and Deposit Insurance in Nigeria.”

Fatokun, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Banking and Payment, Shola Agboola, decided not to mention the three firms, saying once they are approved to go commercial, the other telecommunications would follow suit.

He noted that the process of the final stage of the framework was ongoing as two foreign consultants, Elphina, a UK-based company and a South African firm, are working on the framework.

The director also said that outbound money transfer framework for mobile money was coming soon, as this would enable Nigerians send money abroad.

Speaking on the topic, Enhancing the Capacity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for Job Creation through Mobile Payments System, he explained that the framework had been used as a benchmark for the licencsng of 21 Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), while eight others are at the stages of pilot run.

He, however, disclosed that the total value and volume of transaction have hit N815 billion and 76,852,409 respectively, with about 24,389,263 subscribers as at September 30, 2015.

Despite the rapid growth of mobile telephony of over 120 million subscribers, Fatokun lamented that the majority of the unbanked have access to mobile phone but are still not captured in the mobile payment system.

According to him, there is a need to leverage existing business network infrastructure as a practical and well thought out strategy for driving financial inclusion of the unbanked individuals.

He stated that the primary objectives of the adoption of the mobile money are to foster financial inclusion, efficient monetary policy management, deliver on employment, efficiency in payment system, facilitate domestic and international remittances, transaction cost reduction and facilitate economic growth in the medium to long run.

On employment generation via mobile money operation, he hinted that about 98,158 agents have enrolled across the country as MMOs.

On challenges affecting MSMES in the process of job creation via mobile payments system, Fatokun assured, efforts are being put in by CBN in collaboration with various stakeholders to surmount itches such as epileptic power supply, poor telecommunications connectivity, lack of synergy between MMOs and telcos; who are the super agents and lack of awareness of the various policies and products.

Meanwhile, the Director, affirmed that there was a huge untapped potential for financial services at the micro level on the economy, while noting that banks requires the co-operation of all stakeholders to achieve the nations Vision 20:2020 project.


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