MTN Nigeria cleared to enter banking business

MTN’s Nigeria business – which constitutes its largest market in Africa – has been very much in the news in recent days, mainly thanks to the approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria of a licence for MTN's Mobile Money (MoMo) Payment Service Bank in the country.

Earlier this year MTN Nigeria revealed that its mobile money service had attracted 9.4 million active users since launching in August 2019. In fact the fin24 news service reports that the volume of transactions performed through the service rose by 167% to 137.5 million in the 2021 full financial year. Based on this healthy platform MTN Nigeria is now extending its services to wider banking operations.

More details on the company’s plans for its banking operations are expected to be announced next month.

The company also made headlines after it suspended around 19 million mobile numbers in Nigeria last week. This followed a government directive to bar outgoing calls from unregistered phone lines. This in turn following a long-running saga in which mobile phone providers were told to add identification numbers (NINs) to every SIM card registered in the country or block the SIMs.

The registration deadline has been extended many times since December 2020 when It was first announced with an optimistic deadline of the end of that year. 

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, contributing about 35% of group revenues, and the blocking of unregistered numbers will probably have an impact on group revenues, though MTN seems to think it will be a modest one.

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