Telecommunications companies like MTN, Glo, and Airtel can now sell foreign currencies, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reveals guidelines for the supervision of Payment Service Banks (PSBs).
MTN, Glo and Airtel have branched into financial service market through their subsidiaries; MoMo Agent, SmartCash, and MoneyMaster, respectively.
Aside from their regular service of acceptance of deposits from individuals and small businesses, the Payment Service Banks owned by the telcos will accept inbound cross-border personal remittances.
From the remittances, the central bank’s guidelines also empowers MoMo, SmartCash, and MoneyMaster to sell foreign currencies to certain licensed foreign exchange dealers.
The foreign exchange dealers qualified to buy forex from the Payment Service Banks must have a N5 billion minimum capital.
“PSBs shall have the privilege to make their investments from the CBN window. All funds in excess of the PSB’s operational float should be placed with DMBs.
“PSBs shall participate in the payment and settlement system and have access to the inter-bank and the CBN collateralized repo window for their temporary liquidity management.” The guidelines reads.
The central bank stated further that, “PSBs shall render quarterly returns indicating the number of financially excluded customers on-boarded during the quarter to which the returns relate.
“All PSBs shall be required to interface with the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) platform in order to promote interconnectivity and interoperability of operations within the Nigeria banking system.”
The decision by the central bank-led Godwin Emefiele comes at a period the country is struggling to make foreign exchange available to traders, with the scarcity causing dollar rate to skyrocket in both the official and black market.