African Telecommunications giant, MTN is set to start offering banking services in Nigeria, from 2019.
Rob Shuter, the chief executive officer at MTN Group, says the group will acquire an independent banking licence in Nigeria by 2019.
Speaking at a telecoms conference in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, the MTN CEO said it will put in an application in December and should launch the bank in second quarter 2019.
“We will be applying for a payment service banking licence in Nigeria in the next month or so,” Shuter said.
“And if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching mobile money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019.”
The banking licence is for a Payment Service Bank (PSB), which is an offshoot of the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to drive financial inclusion in the country.
Last week, while speaking at the 10th-anniversary conference of Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said the new banking licences were to ensure 80 percent financial inclusion by 2020.
In October, the CBN released guidelines for the payment service banks, which included a N2 million non-refundable licence fee and N5 billion capital base.
The CBN guideline was addressed to telcos, mobile money operators, banking agents, and the NCC.
It is expected that Globacom, 9mobile, Airtel, and other telecommunications companies in the country would acquire the same licence to operate payment service banks (PSB).
This is happening as the MTN Group Limited is close to securing a deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria over an order to repay $8.1bn it is alleged to have illegally taken out of the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg reported that a settlement might be sealed by Monday and could come as early as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorised to comment publicly.
The CBN is set to meet four lenders of MTN Nigeria to discuss a dispute over an $8.1bn fund transfer, a banking source told Reuters.
It was gathered that the CBN emailed invitations on Thursday to the Nigeria Heads of Standard Chartered, Citibank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Diamond Bank, to attend a meeting on Friday, the source added.
The central bank and the banks declined to comment on a potential meeting on Friday while a spokeswoman for MTN said she did not know of a meeting.
The source said the meeting would start at 4 pm on Friday and focus on MTN’s fund transfer.
The CBN in late August had alleged that MTN and four of its banks – Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc – illegally repatriated $8.1bn from Nigeria while the office of the Attorney General of the Federation claimed the company failed to remit $2bn back taxes.
The CBN also imposed a total fine of N5.87bn on the four banks for allegedly remitting dividends with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation on behalf of MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015.
Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria Communication Limited has sued the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Lagos, demanding N3bn as general and exemplary damages.
The telecoms firm is challenging the August 20, 2018 letter written to it by the AGF, demanding N242bn and $1.3bn as import duties, withholding and value added taxes.
The firm, in the suit filed through its lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described the AGF’s N242bn and $1.3bn demand from it as “malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis.”
MTN contended that in writing the demand letter to it, the AGF acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue”