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MTN to rely on successes in Ghana, others to drive mobile money in Nigeria

Following a recent policy summersult by Federal Government that has opened the window for telecom companies to provide banking services which industry experts have described as positive and long overdue, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Rob Shuter, has said that the telecommunications firm will by December, apply for a mobile-money licence.
Addressing the audience at the 2018 AfricaCom conference and exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa, Shuter said the new move around mobile money is a clear sign that MTN is committed to Nigeria into 2019 and beyond; despite a run of disputes that had halved its market value over the past three years.
“We will be applying for a payment service banking licence in Nigeria in the next month or so, and if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching Mobile Money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019,” he said.
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief reports that in view of the mileages so far covered by MTN Ghana in mobile money services, it will gross performance in less than one year of mobile money service delivery in Nigeria.
Feelers in Ghana show that MTN Mobile Money as the company is instrumental in building robust cashless economy for ease of doing business.
As at 2016, there are 16.4 million mobile money accounts in Ghana and when compared with penetration rate as at 2018, the subscriber base currently stood at over 20 million which explains why the product is adjudged as the pillar of blossoming cashless policy in Ghana.
It would be recalled that at the MTN Ghana Mobile Money monthly stakeholders conference held in August 10, 2016 as part of events to celebrate 20 years of MTN’s operations in Ghana, on the theme: ‘Let’s go cashless with mobile money, supported by an enabling regulatory environment,’ the General Manager, Mobile Financial Service, MTN, Mr Eli Hini, said there is the need for the right regulation supported by stakeholder since the service has thrived on innovation that is driven by patronage.
According to him, mobile money creates an open and level playing field to foster competition among service providers, attract investors and allow providers to refine measure of their services, however irresponsible regulatory framework has had an adverse effect on the service.
He said the service was used largely for airtime top up and money transfer but for the past three years there has been positive growth through the introduction of service such as bill, salary, school fees payments among others.
Currently in Ghana, MTN mobile money outlets are scattered all over with strong customer testimonies on their seamless quality of service.
Also in Kenya and South Africa, MTN mobile money services have gained unprecedented traction over time and therefore stand a better chance of doing well in Nigeria after all.
On the determination of the company to replicate existing mobile money services in Nigeria, Shuter averred that after securing the license, it will be followed by a concerted financial-services roll out in 2019 to its more than 60 million Nigerian subscribers.
Investigations by Business Hilights revealed that the government had a change of mind because the current 21 CBN licensed mobile money operators have not lived up to expectations as millions of Nigerians still shun the service due to lack of confidence.
Only recently, the industry watchdog, Global System for mobile Telecommunications Association (GSMA), noted that after about five years of operation in Nigeria, mobile money has only been able to attract just one per cent penetration.
However, in Ghana, Kenya and others, penetrations have reached 40 per cent and 60 per cent respectively, where only about two million of Nigeria’s estimated 198 million populations are in the service basket.
As part of action plan to fast track the takeoff of the sachem, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked telecommunications companies that intend to deepen financial inclusion in the country through mobile money services to make a minimum capital deposit of N5bn.
It was gathered that the apex bank also granted the telcos a provisional approval to apply for a Payment Service Bank licence through a subsidiary company. As contained in the draft guidelines issued by the CBN, an evidence of the payment of N5bn must be provided when applying for an Approval in Principle. The telecoms companies that have indicated interest in driving the financial inclusion plans of the Federal Government are MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, Ntel, and Globacom.