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CBN grants final PSB approval to MTN

The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted MTN Nigeria Communications Plc final approval to operate its Payment Service Bank.

This is coming six months after the apex bank granted approval in principle to Airtel Africa Plc and MTN to operate PSBs. The CBN had, at the time, disclosed that the approval was subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions within six months.

Based on this new approval, MTN’s Momo Payment Service Bank Limited can commence operations.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the company’s secretary, Uto Ukpanah. The statement said, “We refer to our notification issued on 5 November 2021 in which we communicated receipt of the approval in principle from the CBN for Momo PSB.

“MTN Nigeria Communications Plc announces the receipt of a letter dated 8 April 2022 from the CBN addressed to Momo PSB conveying final approval to commence operations. The date of commencement will be communicated to the CBN in accordance with its requirements.

“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are excited at this opportunity to support its fulfilment.”

MTN’s approval is coming after the CBN granted Globacom and 9Mobile PSB licences through their subsidiaries, Money Master PSB and 9 PSB, in 2019.

According to the apex bank, PSBs are to leverage mobile and digital channels to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities in rural areas through the provision of financial services.

In its ‘State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money: 2022,’ GSMA, the global body representing mobile operators, said mobile money would grow in Nigeria as a result of leading MNOs playing in the space.

It said, “In the coming years, the GSMA expects account growth to come from both long-established mobile money markets and markets where mobile money services are still nascent, especially South Asia and African countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Angola.

“For example, in 2021, Ethiopia saw the launch of a mobile network operator-led mobile money service, and the Central Bank of Nigeria granted Approvals in Principle to leading MNOs to run mobile money services in the country.”

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