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FG Approves Establishment of SIM Swap Centres by MNOs

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FG Approves Establishment of SIM Swap Centres by MNOs, SiliconNigeria

… Extends Enrolment Licence Tenure

The Ministerial Task Force on the NIN-SIM registration held its 4th Review Meeting on Friday, February 26, 2021.  The meeting was Chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM. 

Key stakeholders joined the Honourable Minister at the meeting.  They included the EVC/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), DG/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON). 

Others included the NCC Executive Commissioners for Technical Services and Stakeholder Management, MD/CEOs of MTN, Airtel, EMTS (9Mobile), NTEL, Spectranet and SMILE, as well as the COO of Glo.

A number of resolutions were taken at the meeting, including the following:

i. Approval was given to MNOs for the establishment of dedicated SIM Swap Centres across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria;

ii. Approval was given for the extension of the tenure of NIN Enrolment Agent Licenses for MNOs from 1 to 5 years in consideration of their satisfactory performance, subject to continuous monitoring. This is a deliberate effort of the Federal Government to simplify the enrolment process for Nigerians and legal residents;

 iii. The Technical Committee was mandated to complete the development of a new SIM issuance strategy that cannot be compromised. This will ensure that there is no repeat of the past process that was compromised through pre-registration by some agents; and

 iv. A Multi-Sectoral Adhoc Committee was tasked to immediately complete the review of the processes for new SIM activations for legal residents staying in Nigeria for less than 24 months.  The membership of the Committee was drawn from NCC, NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

 Furthermore, MNOs that already have Service Centres in important and critical locations in LGAs, are expected to upgrade these Centres to a level where they can qualify as SIM Swap Centres in order to reduce the challenges associated with the SIM Swap/Replacement process for the citizens. The purpose is to bring SIM Swap Centres closer to Nigerians regardless of their location. 

The Minister also tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and MNOs, to come up with a framework for the establishment of SIM Swap/Replacement Centres in each of the 774 LGAs in the country, beginning with critical and feasible locations.

 The EVC of NCC, Prof Danbatta, briefed the meeting on the outcome of the Senate Investigative Hearing on 5G Deployment in Nigeria, which took place on February 25, 2021.  He extolled the Honourable Minister for making an eloquent presentation to dispel fears about the public health and security implications of 5G, as well as making a case for this new technology in the country. All stakeholders agreed on the need for the country to deploy 5G technology.

 President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR was briefed on the activities of the Ministerial Task Force. He strongly commended the achievement recorded so far and urged the Minister and other stakeholders to maintain the tempo.  

 The Honourable Minister also appreciated Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise, which has many benefits to the country and its citizens.  He assured of government’s commitment to continually take decisions aimed at easing the pains of the citizens with regard to issues related to NIN and SIM registration.

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Mobile Money

MTN Targets $6 Billion Valuation for Mobile Money Business

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MTN Targets $6 Billion Valuation for Mobile Money Business, SiliconNigeria

MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita said the company is targeting a valuation of between $5 billion and $6 billion for its mobile money arm, as it prepared the sale or listing of a minority stake in the unit.

Mupita outlined basic details about the future of its mobile financial services arm, which is set to be separated as part of a strategy to help it cash-in on various assets unveiled in March.

The company, which operates across several of Africa’s largest markets, has long prized its mobile money offer with the segment often cited as one of the major growth areas in the business.

Mupita said MTN planned to structurally separate the business within the next year. Funds raised from its money and infrastructure assets will go towards further cuts in MTN’s debt pile, adding to disposals of a number of parts of the business deemed non-core in the last two years.

MTN is also in the process of selling-up in the Middle East as it plans to focus its efforts on Africa.

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Mobile Money

Mobile Money: YDFS Expands Cardless Cash Withdrawal Service to 44 Financial Institutions

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Mobile Money: YDFS Expands Cardless Cash Withdrawal Service to 44 Financial Institutions, SiliconNigeria

Mobile money service provider, Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS) has announced the expansion of its MoMo Agent cardless cash withdrawal service to over 40 banks and other financial institutions nationwide, providing seamless financial solutions to more people.

 Initially exclusive to Access Bank, the service has now been extended to include First Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank, GTBank Plc, United Bank of Africa and other tier-one commercial banks.

 Using the service, customers can visit MoMo Agents nationwide to access funds in their bank accounts without requiring an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or ATM card. The service utilises a secure gateway that protects customers against fraudulent transactions and requires transaction validation using their bank PIN.

Commenting on the expansion, Chief Executive Officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services, YDFS, Usoro Usoro said, “We all must play our part in the Federal Government’s financial inclusion drive, which we know is essential for every Nigerian. With this, more MoMo users can walk up to the nearest MoMo Agent to withdraw cash from their bank account without visiting a bank or an ATM.” 

Launched in 2019, MoMo Agent expanded its financial services in 2020 for underbanked and unbanked communities to include bill payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, data and airtime purchase and bulk disbursement services. With an agent base of over 150,000 spread across over 700 local governments, customers on the MTN network can dial *223# to locate the nearest MoMo Agent.

Why it matters
With the cardless cash withdrawal service, MoMo Agents’ sustained innovation aligns with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion target of 95% by 2024. This target was reviewed in 2019 as part of a five-year strategy to sustain inclusive economic growth.

To achieve this, Nigeria must attain an inclusive financial sector that has closed the gender gap. As at 2018, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) revealed that only 59.1% of women compared with 67.5% of men were financially included representing a gender gap of 8.4%. The nature of mobile money makes it easier for women in rural areas to access financial services, which in turn stimulates economic growth.

The cardless cash withdrawal is a good initiative to deepen this inclusion. With the service, residents in rural areas can perform financial transactions without worrying about or using an ATM card. It is another major collaborative step between the mobile money service provider, YDFS and commercial banks in Nigeria.

List of Financial Institutions

  1. First Bank of Nigeria
  2. Zenith Bank
  3. GTBank Plc
  4. Access Bank
  5. Access (Diamond) Bank
  6. Ecobank PLC
  7. Standard Chattered Bank
  8. Fidelity Bank
  9. United Bank for Africa (UBA)
  10. Unity Bank
  11. Union Bank
  12. Sterling Bank
  13. First City Monument Bank (FCMB)
  14. Skye Bank
  15. Wema Bank
  16. Enterprise Bank
  17. Keystone Bank
  18. Jaiz Bank
  19. Stanbic IBTC Bank
  20. Suntrust Bank
  21. Heritage Bank
  22. Citi Bank
  23. Coronation Merchant Bank
  24. Pagatech
  25. Paycom
  26. Access Money
  27. Etranzact
  28. Eco Mobile
  29. Fidelity Mobile
  30. GT Mobile
  31. Zenith Mobile
  32. Money Box
  33. Safetrust Mortgage Bank
  34. Covenant Microfinance Bank
  35. NPF Microfinance Bank
  36. Fortis Microfinance
  37. ReadyCash
  38. Omoluabi Mortgage Bank
  39. Sterling Mobile
  40. Page MFB
  41. Stanbic Mobile Money
  42. Fortis Mobile
  43. TagPay
  44. FBN Mobile

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IT and Telecomms

GSMA, Spain Agree International Travel Authorisation for MWC21 Barcelona

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GSMA Spain Agree International Travel Authorisation for MWC21 Barcelona, SiliconNigeria

The GSMA and Ministry of the Interior of the Government of Spain have announced details of an agreement to allow all MWC21 Barcelona registrants – including exhibitors, attendees, sponsors, and partners – to enter Spain to attend the in-person event.

Whilst there is a current denial of entry to Spain for any national from a country outside the EU, exceptions apply to specific groups of people, including ‘highly qualified workers’. The decision from the Spanish government now includes MWC21 Barcelona registrants in this category. 

John Hoffman, CEO GSMA Ltd, said: “The health and safety of everyone involved in MWC Barcelona, both in Spain and beyond, continues to be our utmost priority as we navigate rapidly shifting circumstances. This decision is a resounding vote of confidence in the careful planning undertaken to date, and our strong partnership with the Host City Parties. We will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience.”

The GSMA will share details of MWC21 Barcelona registrants with Spanish authorities to facilitate entry into the country. This shift allows entry to those registrants who are currently denied entry, including those from China and the USA, to enter Spain for the purposes of attending and doing business at MWC21.

The GSMA will adapt its registration process, to accommodate this international business travel policy. All individuals participating in the event from outside of the European Union and Schengen Area must follow this process to facilitate entry into Spain:

  • Complete your online registration for the event using the MWC21 Barcelona Registration System
    • All individuals seeking entry to Spain must be fully registered for MWC21 Barcelona 
    • After completing registration, the GSMA will provide relevant information to the Spanish government for visa and border control purposes
  • On completion of registration, you will receive a MWC Barcelona 2021 Attendance Confirmation. Please have this to hand when contacting your consulate or visa issuing authority and with you when you travel to attend the event
  • The registration system will be updated in the coming weeks to reflect the updated process. Anyone already registered will be contacted and advised when to complete this additional information

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