CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Telecommunication companies that intend to deepen financial inclusion in the country through mobile money services have been asked by the Central Bank of Nigeria to make a minimum capital deposit of N5bn.

The apex bank it was gathered, also granted the telcos a provisional approval to apply for a Payment Service Bank licence through a subsidiary company.

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As contained in the draft guidelines issued by the CBN, an evidence of the payment of N5bn must be provided when applying for an Approval in Principle.

The telecoms companies that have indicated interest in driving the financial inclusion plans of the Federal Government are MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, Ntel , and Globacom.

Commenting on the guidelines, the Chairman, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said the PSB licence would allow the telcos to facilitate the payment but restrict them from giving loans.

He, however, objected to the minimum deposit of N5bn, saying it was on the high side considering that other mobile money operators were asked to make a payment of N2bn.

According to Adebayo, these issues have been addressed in feedback to the apex bank, expressing optimism that the input will be considered.

“The justification for the minimum capital deposit is unknown. However, when compared to the capital requirement for National Microfinance Banks and Mobile Money Operators which are currently fixed at N2bn, it is our view that the figure is excessive, particularly bearing in mind that National MFBs have a wider service bouquet,” he said.

“We have made our comments on the provisions of the draft document and we are expecting feedback from the CBN.”