Labour cautions FG on issuance of banking licence to telecom operators


Two unions in the banking and financial institutions has advised the Federal Government to fashion out the mode of operation before granting banking services licence to telecommunications companies.

The unions, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, gave the advice in Lagos.

Muhammed Sheikh, the General Secretary of NUBIFIE said that Federal Government should inform people on the strategic economic interest of the policy before approving the licence.

The Federal Government had in October announced that it would allow telecommunications companies to provide banking services to the people.

It said that this was to allow the companies to provide banking services that would give millions of Nigerians who have no bank accounts access to mobile money service.

MTN Group had since announced its plans to apply for a Payment Service Bank licence and launch of mobile banking in Nigeria in 2019.
Sheikh said that the union would tackle any of the telecommunications operators on the implication of such banking service on the job of workers whenever the details were made available.

He said that government should be very careful in approving such licences as some telecommunications companies had yet to resolve their tax issues.

Sheikh said: “We don’t want companies that will extract, exploit and create capital flight out of Nigeria to be given licence to operate banking service. Government should look into its implications very well.”

The union scribe said that there was need to look into the details of the banking services that would be provided by the telecommunications operators since the existing banks were already rendering such mobile services.

Also, Oyinkansola Olasanoye, the ASSBIFI President, said that currently, stakeholders did not know the procedure or the kind of licence that would be granted to the telecommunications companies.
Olasanoye said no doubt that telecommunications companies had wider reach in rural areas compared to the banks.

She said: “The telecommunications system has covered interior areas and when it comes to retail banking, rural dwellers have yet to embrace it.”

The ASSBIFI president said that since banks do not have financial inclusiveness in the coverage of local areas, the telecommunications companies could play a role.

She said though, ASSBIFI members do not know the mode of operation or details of how MTN or any telecommunications operators wanted to operate the mobile banking services, the Federal Government should exercise caution.