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NCC, CBN historic agreement paves way for telcos to play in mobile money space

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History! The deadlock is broken; the barriers are over as telecommunication network providers are closer to offering mobile money services in Nigeria. 
This is premised on the historic partnership (agreement) between the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The duo as the two regulatory bodies in the telecommunications and financial sectors, today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Payment Systems in Nigeria.

Professor Umar Danbatta, who lead a delegation of NCC’s Senior Management staff to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele where the latter recommended the signing of the MoU on Payment Systems in Nigeria.

Telcos had tabled their case

Till date, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, wields the big stick in the mobile money sub-sector of the economy.

The country’s financial industry regulator exercises the powers conferred on her by section 47(2) of the CBN Act, 2007, to promote and facilitate the development of efficient and effective system for the settlement of transactions, including the development of electronic payment systems; and pursuant to its mandate of creating an enabling financial environment and also promoting a sound financial system in Nigeria.

But, the telcos have argued that they established the payment gateway and infrastructure on which the system rides.

They also point to their ubiquitous spread across the country as evidence that they would drive the process better and faster than the banks.

NCC EVC, Prof. Danbatta and CBN Governor, Emefiele

The operators have always cited the example of Kenya, the global case study for Mobile Money development.

In Kenya, Safaricom, the country’s leading Mobile Network Operator was the key driver of Mobile Money in the country and for this reason, the telcos think the example should be replicated.

New era beckons

The MoU signed today between NCC and CBN takes serious cognizance of very crucial areas of collaboration between the two important regulators with respect to financial inclusion strategy, already being driven by the CBN.

NCC management staff witness the agreement signing

The strategy also provides responsibilities of the two organizations towards the achievement of government’s objective on payment systems, including but not limited to mobile money services.

Prof. Umar Danbatta spoke on the Commission’s critical review of the existing framework for the regulation of mobile payments in Nigeria, within the membership of a Committee comprising of the CBN, NCC, NDIC and the NIBSS.

He further stated that the Commission is looking forward to signing the revised strategy of the Anti-money Laundering (AML) aimed at preventing, detecting, inditing and control of money laundering and financial terrorism.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele spoke on the critical importance of Telecoms on the Nigerian economy and also congratulated the Commission on its efforts towards protecting the interest of Telecom Consumers and Service Providers.

The two regulatory bodies re-assured each other that they will continue to partner and collaborate on shared terms for the actualization of their mutual mandates and enhancement of human lives.