Telecommunication outfits, 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 at the weekend and with this, the number of PSBs in the country is expected to rise to five from the current three.
MTN Nigeria in a statement signed by its company secretary yesterday , said it had gotten the nod from the apex bank for its own PSB, known as 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, its 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, while 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 its 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.”
PSB was introduced by the CBN 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 prior to now.