Nigeria’s Central Bank has announced it will issue more mobile money licenses in an effort to streamline the process and deliver more options to Nigerians.
The Deputy Director of Domestic Payment Division of the Central Bank of Nigeria Emmanual Obaigbona, said that the move is to assist banks in their ability to move the program forward, which officially began on 1 January.
Obaigbona added in a statement that the aim is to broaden the overall participation in mobile money system, in general, and the cash-less policy in particular.
He added that “the apex bank has already licensed 11 mobile operators who successfully passed the pilot studies conducted for them last year.
“The 11 licensed operators are not the end of the list. The CBN intends to license more operators to meet the set standards for operating mobile money services in the country,” Obaigbona said.
He continued to say that the apex bank’s decision to issue the mobile money license “was to reduce the unbanked population to the barest minimum and subsequently develop the economy.”
Still the move has many analysts worried that it could create too many restrictions in the country, especially after the central bank barred telecom operators from promoting any specific mobile money product.
“I am a bit concerned that this will open the market up too wide and destroy companies and peoples’ ability to understand what they are participating in right now,” said Asamoa Hiran, a telecom and banking specialist in Lagos.
He told IT News Africa that there is “too much confusion right now to really understand what is going on, so we are all waiting to see what the future will hold.”
The launch of mobile money banking hopes to move Nigeria, which has the largest population not using banks, into the financial system.