Two telecommunication companies, Airtel Africa and MTN Nigeria, have been granted an approval-in-principle to launch Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria.
The approval-in-principle is part of the requirements stipulated by the apex bank before any company is granted final approval for PBS.
Meanwhile, the four categories of companies that are eligible to set up PSB are Banking Agents, Telecommunication Companies, Retail Chains, Mobile Money Operators among others.
Airtel will operate PSB via its Smartcash Payment Service Bank Limited while MTN will operate via MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited. The essence is to bring more people into the financial inclusion space.
Reacting to the development, Segun Ogunsanya, CEO, Airtel Africa, said, “I 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.”
On his part, Uto Ukpanah, company secretary at MTN Nigeria, said, MTN Nigeria remained optimistic that it would eventually get the PSB licence.
“This is the first step in a long process that would lead to eventual approval. In other words, MTN Nigeria would be required to fulfil a number of conditions, even as ‘the decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN.
“MTN Nigeria expressed optimism that it would eventually get the PSB license, and reaffirmed its commitment to the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN in Nigeria.”