The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered telecommunications companies in the country to begin offering mobile money transfer services. It added that they want the telecom operators to begin rolling this service out as quickly as possible.
The CBN recently granted approval in principle to 16 operators last year to roll out mobile money networks across the country.
CBN director Abayomi Atoloye said the operators “were given provisional approvals and four months (January to April) to prove their capacities to roll out mobile money networks in the country.”
Atoloye added in a statement that “the approvals that were given to the operators require that they come back after four months for an evaluation to know whether the approvals will become permanent.”
With the four-month period due to lapse on 31 April, some of the licenses may be revoked if the holders fail to meet the criteria set by the CBN. Still, only a handful of the licensed operators are ready to roll out services in the near future.
Analysts in Nigeria say the push is an important step toward boosting IT and telecom initiatives in the country toward meeting international standards.
“We have been excited about this development for some time and it is important that it follows through, because it will give Nigerians more options and will likely increase overall customer satisfaction and ease of doing business,” said Tina Asamoah, a Lagos-based IT analyst.