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Orange Unfolds Mobile Banking Plan for West Africa

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Orange Unfolds Mobile Banking Plan for West Africa, SiliconNigeria

Orange teamed with financial services company NSIA to launch mobile banking services into its first African market, Ivory Coast, with plans to expand into Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.

Under the Orange Bank Africa brand, the company will provide savings and credit facilities to customers of its existing mobile money product. Small loans start at XOF5,000 ($8.83) with savings offering 3.5 per cent annual interest, subject to terms.

The service will be completely mobile-based, as with the operator’s Orange Bank in France and Spain.

Its Africa version is primarily aimed at the large number of people which do not, or are excluded from, traditional banking channels in its markets. In a statement, the company noted it aimed to “become a leader in ensuring financial inclusion in West Africa”.

Orange chairman and CEO Stephane Richard added: “Banking is a new area of business for Orange in Africa. It falls squarely in line with our strategy as a multi-service operator and our desire to drive the digital transformation forward in Africa.”

The operator’s partner in the launch, NSIA, is an Africa-focused financial services provider which runs a number of insurance, banking and broker brands.

Orange Bank Africa will be provided alongside Orange Money, which offers traditional cash-in, cash-out and mobile payment services in 18 of its markets.

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Nigerian Banks Lift USSD Restriction As MTN Reverts Back To 4.5% Commission

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Nigerian Banks Lift USSD Restriction As MTN Reverts Back To 4.5% Commission, SiliconNigeria
  • Extends Partnership with Fintechs

MTN Nigeria, commercial banks and aggregators have agreed to revert back to the old commission formula for airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and banking app channels.

The three parties have reverted back to the old 4.5 per cent commission charged for airtime vending through USSD and other banking channels. They reached for each other jugular over an impromptu reduction in the commission rate from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which too k effect on Thursday April 1, 2021.

At virtual meeting held yesterday by the chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola; the group CEO of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe who is also the chairman of the Body of Bank CEOs in Nigeria; Group CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje as well as MTN Nigeria’s chief financial officer, Modupe Kadri, they agreed to revert back to status quo ante of 4.5 per cent commission on USSD airtime.

MTN CEO, Toriola and addressed to Wigwe which was a follow-up on the virtual stated that, “In an attempt to resolve the current USSD impasse, given the intervention of our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert back to the status quo of 4.5 per cent commission.

“However, the banks and MTN Nigeria Plc shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the costs on 6th of April 2021.” The letter was copied to the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC.

Elaborating further, he said in another statement that “the document was issued by me to the banks on the specific intervention of the CBN Governor and the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy. MTN’s intention has always been geared towards business optimization to the benefit of our customers and indeed the country.

“This is evidenced by the fact that through the USSD imbroglio, we never denied access to our customers. In the current case, customers have been denied access to services by the banks despite having monies in their accounts to purchase those services. MTN will naturally do all it can to minimise customer pain. It is not just about revenue for us.

“The good of our customers influence every decision we take. The CBN Governor’s intervention is in line with our core values. We acceded to his request and that of our Minister. We will continue to live our values that ‘everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the operator with over 70 million subscribers said it will continue to engage Fintechs to vend airtime. According to Funso Aina, Snr. Manager, External Relations, MTN, the links to access the various alternative platforms include:

1. MTN On Demand is on *904# and also via https://mtnondemand.flutterwave.com;

2. Barter By Flutter Wave is an app that can be downloaded here: http://tosto.re/getbarter;

3. Jumia Pay (app);

4. OPay (app);

5. MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#);

6. Carbon (app);

7. Kuda (app);

8. BillsnPay (web https://www.billsnpay.com/. They also have an app);

9. myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng;

10. Momo agent *223#

  The Apps can be downloaded from the Playstore and the Appstore.

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Nigerian Court Extends NIN Registration by Two Months

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Nigerian Court Extends NIN Registration by Two Months, SiliconNigeria

Justice Maurine Onyetenu of the Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the Federal government to extend the deadline for the compulsory registration of telephone subscribers for the National Identity Number (NIN) by two months.

Justice Onyetenu gave the directive while delivering judgement on a suit filed by a lawyer, Monday Ubani against the federal government, Attorney General of the Federation, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy.

Ubani had urged the court for the order, arguing that the initial two weeks ultimatum (now extended to April 6, 2021) given to telecommunication operators to block SIM Cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM Card with NIN if allowed, will infringe on his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property and right to life.

The lawyer had also asked the court for an order halting the said ultimatum and extending the deadline.

He further prayed the court for a declaration that the ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with NIN, is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship, but will likely infringe on the fundamental rights of the Applicant (and millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1)(2) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as violate section 44(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over moveable property.

“A declaration that in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to the Applicant and over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM Cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting to clustering of the Applicant and other Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting him to the possibility of easily contracting the covid-19 virus, and such will amount to a violation of his fundamental right to life as protected by section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“An order halting the said ultimatum given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to telecommunication operators to block all SIM Cards that are not registered with NIN. In her judgment, Justice Onyetenu granted all the applications as prayed.

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Breaking: Banks Agree to Stagger Payment of N42bn USSD Debt

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Breaking: Banks Agree to Stagger Payment of N42bn USSD Debt, SiliconNigeria

Nigerian banks (Financial Service Providers) have agreed to stagger the payement of N42 billion being accrued debt owed Nigerian mobile network operators for the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) short code service.

 The banks together with the mobile operators had ended a marathon meeting last night with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami.

According to Silicon Nigeria sources within the banking industry, resolutions agreed at the meeting include:

  • That End-User Billing be scrapped and be replaced with Corporate Billing for USSD.
  • It was also agreed that session charging be scrapped for Transaction cost charging.
  •  They agreed on N1.63k floor price and N4.50 price cap while a flat fee of N6.98k will be for the transaction.
  •  Banks will now charge customers for the USSD transaction doing on their accounts and settle the telecom operators.
  • The two parties also agreed to work together to deepen and expand digital financial inclusion of the Federal Government and come out with modalities and strategies on USSD. The use of USSD by banks customers according to them is optional.
  • Both the CBN and the NCC are expected to issue a joint statement today on the expanded resolutions.

Participants at the meeting include the Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability Central Bank Of Nigeria, Aisha Ahmad who represented the CBN Governor, Godwin Emfiele; Access Bank Group MD, Herbert Wigwe, chairman of the Committee of Bank CEOs; MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola; Airtel Nigeria CEO, Segun Ogunanya; 9mobile Executive Director, Abdulrahman Ado; the EVC of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta; and Executive Commission, Technical Services, NCC, Ubala Maska and among several banking and telecom stakeholders.

Full details later…

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