The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has commenced investigations into the operations of one of the biggest GSM telecommunications firm in the country for breaching the guidelines on mobile money.
CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi disclosed this at the 18th Nigeria Economic Summit held in Abuja last week. “I am aware of a very big telecoms company that is violating our guidelines and it is working with two banks, and we know the banks and we are investigating and we are going to act”, he said.
Sanusi said the discovery further justify why the apex bank decided to adopt a bank-led model for mobile money services in Nigeria, as against that of a telco-led model being clamoured by telecommunications firms.
Sanusi said, “The Central Bank by law has the authority to regulate the payment system. We do not have regulatory authority over telecoms companies, we regulate banks. It makes sense when you are starting something like this, to have it led by institutions you regulate and watch the behaviour of telecoms companies, and build relationship and confidence before you began to hand it over to some other form of models.
“We have never said this is the final model, we have seen Safaricom in Kenya. It has got strength and it has got fundamental weaknesses from a regulatory and monetary point of view.
“You cannot, have people parting with money, huge amount of money and these are poor people, and the thing with financial inclusion is that, it is like capital market, getting people to come back and invest is a problem now. The moment you get all these mobile money and something happens that you don’t have control over, it destroys the confidence of people in that entire process, it will not happen again in the next five years or next decade”.
Recently, Globacom’s Director, Telebanking Unit, Tunde Kuponiyi criticized the current mobile money framework, saying it is not friendly to telecoms companies who provide the mobile payment platform. He said that though there was a lot that telecoms companies could contribute in a cashless economy, their current mandate was limiting.
Ho noted that since the mobile payments business is ninety percent dependent on the mobile industry, it was unfair that the mobile networks are prevented from advertising their various mobile payment products which are the foundation on which the bank products operate.
“From the customer’s mobile phone, to the mobile payments system and feedback to the mobile phone, the mobile payment transaction utilizes mostly mobile resources, makes use of mobile time and is supported largely by mobile engineers, but unfortunately the CBN has restricted telecom companies from advertising in the mobile payments space”, Kuponiyi said.