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Nigeria: MTN and Airtel receives Approval for Payment Service Bank

Airtel and MTN join the list of network providers that have been granted a PSB license Approval in Principle (AIP).

Today, MTN and Airtel announced that they had received the partial backing of the CBN to operate a payment service bank business in Nigeria. However, final approval is subject to both groups satisfying certain standard conditions within six months.

What they are saying

MTN, in a statement, said, "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."

Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of 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 license 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.

Airtel will operate PSB via its Smartcash Payment Service Bank Limited, while MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited will be MTN’s PSB.

Nigeria in focus

GDP: $432.294 billion in 2020 compared to $448.12 billion in 2019

Population: 206,139,587 in 2020 compared to 200,963,03 in 2019

GDP per capita: $2,097 in 2020 compared to $2,229 in 2019