The Nigerian Central Bank on Monday awarded a license to a subsidiary of South African telecom giant MTN Group that would allow it to provide financial services to the people, reported Eyewitness News.
Last year, Nigeria announced that it would allow telecom companies to provide banking services. The move aimed to give millions of Nigerians without bank accounts access to so-called mobile money services.
The MTN Group, which owns a majority stake in MTN Nigeria, said at the time it would apply for a mobile banking licence in Nigeria and planned to launch the service in 2019.
MTN Nigeria’s CEO Ferdi Moolman said on Monday its Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) unit had been granted a full super-agent licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the under-served across the country. This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our Fintech initiatives,” said Moolman
He said the company has also applied for a Payment Service Bank Licence, which will enable it to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to those communities and we remain hopeful we will receive approval shortly. He did not give specifics.
MTN runs Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone network, serving around 56 million people. In May, MTN Nigeria listed in Lagos in a 2 trillion naira ($6.54 billion) debut that turned it into the exchange’s second-largest stock by market value.
The company, however, is facing some legal trouble in Nigeria where it has been ordered to pay an unpaid $2bn tax bill. MNT Nigeria is expected to be back in court on the tax matter on October 29, 2019.