Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria has been granted final approval to operate mobile money (MoMo) payment service bank (PSB) licence in Nigeria.

MTN announced, yesterday, that it has been given permission to operate the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and that it would soon offer financial services under the licence requirements.

MTN Group had first announced in November 2021 its move towards getting final approval of the licence, saying it was subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN.

As it is, with the PSB licence, MTN Nigeria will offer a wider range of mobile financial services beyond the traditional person-to-person (P2P) MoMo mobile money transfers such as lending and bill payments.

A document sighted and signed by the Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah, titled ‘the Central Bank of Nigeria Grants Final Approval for MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited (Momo PSB)’, reads: “We refer to our notification issued on November 5, 2001, in which we communicated receipt of the approval in principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited (MoMo PSB).

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“MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) announces the receipt of a letter dated April 8, 2022, from the CBN addressed to Momo PSB conveying final approval to commence operations. The date of commencement will be communicated to the CBN in accordance with its requirements.

“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are excited about this opportunity to support its fulfillment.”

The move, according to the report, is part of MTN’s strategy outlined in June, by the Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, saying the structural separation of the fintech and fibre units was key to the group’s Ambition 2025 Plan.

“We are grateful to the CBN for granting the final approval to commence the operations of MoMo PSB, which is an important milestone for our Ambition 2025 strategy,” said Mupita.

The granting of a banking licence in MTN’s most lucrative market is set to bolster the group’s operations in Nigeria. The country remains MTN’s biggest market and contributor of the lion’s share to the group’s revenue.

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In the financial year ended December 2021, MTN Nigeria reported strong operational performance, delivering growth across all revenue lines.

MTN Nigeria’s service revenue grew by 23.3 per cent, exceeding its mid-term target, driven mainly by growth in voice, data and fintech service revenue lines.

Data revenue rose by 55.3 per cent, as MTN continued to accelerate the expansion of its 4G coverage. MTN Nigeria’s 4G network now covers 70.3 per cent of the population, up from 60.1 per cent in December 2020.

Similarly, fintech revenue surged by 57.3 per cent, due to sustained growth in the use of its Xtratime product and broader fintech services.

In the period, MoMo transaction volume rose by 167 per cent to 137.5 million from an active user base of 9.4 million, up 102 per cent.