A robust payments system is vital for effective monetary policy implementation and the promotion of economic efficiency. The introduction of mobile telephony in Nigeria, its rapid growth and adoption and the identification of person-to-person payments as a practical strategy for financial inclusion, has made it imperative to adopt the mobile channel as a means of driving financial inclusion of the unbanked. These factors underscore the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to issue this regulatory framework to create an enabling environment for the orderly introduction and management of mobile money services in Nigeria. The Framework defines the regulatory environment as a policy path towards achieving availability, acceptance and usage of mobile payment services.
Mobile payment has evolved as a veritable channel for facilitating the growth of commerce. The use of the mobile phone for the initiation, authorization and confirmation of the transfer of value out of a current, savings or stored value account has been recognized as a development that is expanding the growth of commerce among both the financially included and non-included units in the economy.
This regulatory framework addresses business rules governing the operation of mobile money services, and specifies basic functionalities expected of any mobile money service and solution in Nigeria. It identifies the participants and defines their expected roles and responsibilities in providing mobile money services in the system. In addition, it sets the basis for the regulation of services offered at different levels and by the participants.
The overriding vision of achieving a nationally utilized and internationally recognized payments system necessitates strategies to bring informal payment transactions into the formal system.
This framework has identified two models for the implementation of mobile money services namely;
a. Bank Led – Bank and/or its Consortium as Lead Initiator
b. Non-bank Led- A corporate organisation duly licensed by the CBN as Lead Initiator
The CBN recognizes the importance of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the operations of mobile money services and appreciates the criticality of the infrastructure they provide. However, the telco-led model (where the lead initiator is an MNO), shall not be operational in Nigeria.
Its exclusion will enable the CBN have full control of monetary policy operations, minimise risks and ensure that the offerings of financial services are driven by organizations that have been licensed by the CBN to do so