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Olusegun Ogunsanya


The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted approval in principle to Airtel Africa Plc and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc to operate a payment service bank in the country.


Airtel said in a statement on Friday that its subsidiary, SMARTCASH Payment Service Bank Limited, had been granted AIP to operate a payment service bank business.


According to the statement, final approval is subject to the fulfilment of certain standards of the conditions within six months.


The Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, said, “We will not work closely with the CBN 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.”


MTN Nigeria also said in a statement that it received the AIP for its proposed MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited.


It 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.”


In 2019, the CBN granted Globacom and 9Mobile PSB licences through their subsidiaries, Money Master PSB and 9 PSB, respectively.


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

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