MTN Nigeria Communications Plc on Friday said it had obtained a super-agent licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria through its subsidiary, Y’ello Digital Financial Services Limited. The licence issued on Thursday, July 25, 2019, according to the company, will enable it to join the league of financial technology companies that are accelerating financial inclusion in the country through an agent network.
The Chief Executive Officer, MTNN, Ferdi Moolman, confirmed this in the company’s 2019 half-year interim financial report published on Friday. “We are pleased with obtaining a super-agent licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enable us to build an agent network and accelerate the growth of our fintech business,” Moolman said in the report. The company also said it would continue to work towards obtaining a Payment Service Banking licence it applied for in 2018.
MTN said it invested N50m in Y’ello Digital Financial Services Limited in the first half of the year, with respect to the minimum shareholding requirement stipulated by the CBN for a super-agent licence. MTN, together with Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile and ntel, had pledged to deepen financial inclusion in 30 months by collectively reaching 90 million Nigerians through the deployment of over one million airtime agents as mobile money agents. Some of the telecom operators are already offering mobile money services in collaboration with Deposit Money Banks but are now seeking to offer financial services independently. The Payment Service Banks, when approved by the CBN, would provide access to financial services such as deposits and savings, Peer-to-Peer payments, merchant payments and utility payments to the Nigerian population. Meanwhile, MTNN reported double-digit growth in service revenue, 12.2 per cent, which was largely driven by growth in voice (11.4 per cent) and data revenue (31.7 per cent) and improving the margin on earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation. It said the voice revenue growth stemmed from an increase in the number of subscribers, stable tariffs and its focus on pro-consumer activities. It said the double-digit growth in data revenue was driven by increased number of smartphones on the network, greater data usage and growth in the number of active data users, adding that its fintech business grew by 21.2 per cent in revenue year-on-year.
Moolman, said, “In May, MTN Nigeria was successfully listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, making us the first mobile network operator to list on the NSE. The listing demonstrates our commitment to the Nigerian market and provides local investors with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the company’s growth prospects.” Punch