CBN regulations hindering mobile money growth – Operators

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  • calls for regulatory review

By Odunewu Segun

Operators in the mobile money ecosystem have called for a review of the prevailing mobile money regulatory framework, so that the country can achieve the target growth rate in the system.

According to the operators, efforts to encourage mobile money and financial inclusion could elude Nigeria if Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) fails to review its regulatory framework in line with global practice.

One of the operators who spoke with National Daily, Eric Barbier, Chief Executive Officer of TransTo, said regulatory issues are hindering the growth of mobile money in Nigeria.

“It is difficult to get Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) required approval to send money out of Nigeria because the process is not straight forward,” Eric stated.

He added that regulatory challenge has hindered the growth of digital payment and mobile wallet in Africa, he cited South Africa where MTN on two occasions launched Mobile money and it all failed.

Similarly, Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, MobileMoney Africa, said large number of redundant mobile money agents is a major challenge of the industry.

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He added that from regulatory perspective, Nigerian mobile money industry was well thought out to be Bank and non-bank led with limited telecommunications operators’ participation.

He also noted that “Africa’s remittance market is a developing market fuelled by diaspora migrant labour and just like many industries in Africa, it has its own share of challenges such as regulation, spread and availability of formal financial services centres, agency network etc”.

Meanwhile, the World Bank and GSMA, the global body representing nearly 800 mobile operators and 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, this week form a collaboration to achieve Universal Financial Access (UFA) by the year 2020.

The World Bank Group – the World Bank and IFC – has also committed to enabling 1 billion people to gain access to a transaction account through targeted interventions and expanding their network of partners to boost financial inclusion.

The GSMA brings to the coalition a deep knowledge of mobile financial services, a proven ability to innovate, and a commitment to financial inclusion as a core component of its mission. In this context, the GSMA has pledged to support the creation of 500 million mobile money accounts over the course of the UFA initiative.

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