The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set a minimum capital base of N5 billion for payment service banks (PSBs) and directed telecommunication companies, banking agents, retail chains and postal services to apply for licenses.
The CBN said on Monday in a circular said these entities must set up separate companies and run them as independent companies from their operations to secure the licenses.
In all, the CBN has granted three PSB licenses so far. The three PSBs are Hope PSB, Moneymaster PSB and 9 PSB-the latter is operated by Nigerian telecom giants 9mobile.
The apex bank’s effort is in line with its objective of opening up the digital financial services sector, which will help millions who do not have bank accounts.
It is estimated that more than half of Nigeria’s population of 180 million do not have a bank account.
East Africa’s success with mobile money has shown investors and industry players alike that financial services are a viable area for growth in the telecoms sector, where prices for basic services are falling.