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Fintech: CBN issues new license

The CBN has approved a super-agent licence to another financial technology company, Itex Integrated Services Limited.

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Fintech firm expands services, gets CBN super-agent license 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved super-agent licence to another financial technology company (fintech)Itex Integrated Services Limited. The company now has the CBN’s backing to operate in the financial sector and recruit agents to carry out financial services. 

The Super Agent license will enable Itex to provide basic financial services such as account opening, BVN capture, funds transfer, cash withdrawals, bill payments to the unbanked, and others 

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[READ MORE: FinTech Wars: Access Bank reveals how much it lends daily as payday loans]

Speaking on the development, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Itex Integrated Services Limited, Mr Ernest Uduje, expressed his enthusiasm at the full approval the company received to be a super agent. 

“We are indeed happy to have qualified for this licence. Our primary goal is to provide ease of financial services and transactions for our customers, including those in the rural areas. This licence gives us an opportunity to provide these services on an even larger scale, thus providing financial empowerment to the unbanked and under-banked.” 

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What you should know: The super-agent licence is part of CBN’s efforts to deepen financial inclusion in the country and reduce the financial exclusion rate to 20% by 2020. The policy, which was made by CBN in 2015, is called the Licensing Framework for Super Agents. 

The aim is to encourage other infrastructure providers and operators, including telcos, to provide shared agent network services. This is expected to rapidly expand financial inclusion and extend digital financial services across the country. 

Under this CBN’s regulatory framework, super agents are responsible for monitoring and supervising the activities of agents, including the volume and value of transactions for each type of service they offer.  

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The framework also states that the volume and value of transactions should be made available to the principal financial institutions, which monitor compliance with the set limits, establish other prudential measures, and take actions such as on-site visits to ensure agents are strictly complying with the requirements of the law, guidelines and contract. 

[READ ALSO: CBN seeks standard practice from fintech operators]

 

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Patricia

Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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Tech News

3 startups to get N3 million grant each in the COVID-19 virtual hackathon 

The hackathon hopes to identify accessible and cost-effective E-Learning solutions for public schools.

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that 3 finalist startups will get a grant of N3 million each at the end of the COVID-19 virtual hackathon 

These three startups will be selected from submitted entries that meet all the criteria and provide adaptable digital solutions for addressing the present and future impacts of pandemic and epidemic diseases 

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The solutions must be novel, clearly explained, with proof of concept  

NCC announced this through a statement published on its Twitter handle.  

The grant, it said, will enable the three startups with the most promising digital solutions to produce a prototype within 2 months of receipt.  

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According to the statement, submitted entries are expected to provide solutions in sectors such as health, digital communications, education, transportation.  

For those in health, the solutions should find a way to empower frontline healthcare workers or prevent, trace, and contain the spread in Nigeria.  

Solutions in digital communications are expected to aid the sustenance of economic activities and people-to-people communication while encouraging social distancing without compromising productivity. 

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The hackathon also hopes to identify accessible and cost-effective E-Learning solutions for public schools, as well as improved safety measures in public transportation in Nigeria.  

Interested tech hubs, startups and innovative digital SMEs can still submit entries on or before July 17, 2020.  

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Financial Services

CBN expands scope of regional banks in Nigeria, gives compliance timeframe

The aim of this directive is to expand the reach of the regional banks across the country, the CBN said.

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Regional Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expanded the scope of regional banks in the country, by requiring them to open branches in at least one additional geopolitical zone outside of the existing geopolitical zones where their operating licenses cover.

A circular that was issued earlier this week by the apex bank said this new directive is in accordance with “section 8 (g) of the CBN Scope, Conditions & Minimum Standards for Commercial Banks Regulations no [1] 2010 as revised on September 4, 2019.” 

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The new directive took effect on Friday, June 26, 2020. In other words, all the regional banks are expected to have become aware of this development since then. They now have a timeframe of six months to establish their presence in the geopolitical zones outside of where they currently operate.

It should be noted that prior to this time, regional banks in the country typically operated in at least two geopolitical zones of the federation. However, in line with the new expansion, the CBN shall now prescribe an additional geopolitical zone for each of these regional banks, thereby making the coverage area three geopolitical zones per regional bank.

Meanwhile, the CBN said the aim of this directive is to expand the reach of the regional banks across the country, whilst ultimately promoting financial inclusion. Note also that the new directive affects all regional banks, both the ones engaged in commercial banking and non-interest banking. Some part of the circular said:

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“Effective the date of this circular, all banks with regional authorisation shall be required to operate from one additional geopolitical zone as may be prescribed for each institution by the CBN, without prejudice to the existing requirement of the minimum of two (2) geopolitical zones of the federation. The essence is to promote spread and balance of the regional banks across the country.

“The compliance timeline to establish operational footprint at the advised zone shall not exceed six (6) months from the issuance of the regulatory advice to each regional bank by the CBN.”

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Economy & Politics

Nigerian and US Authorities battle former Enron Nigerian Subsidiary over $80 million Yacht

Both Nigerian and American governments have opposed Enron Nigeria’s appeal. 

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19 years after the bankruptcy of Enron Corporation, one of the biggest corporate bankruptcies in American history, a former subsidiary of the company is battling Nigerian and American Authorities over the sale of a yacht valued at over $80 million acquired by Nigerian businessman Kolawole Aluko. 

The yacht was seized by the US Government in 2018 after prosecutors say it was bought with the proceeds of bribes paid to Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani AlisonMadueke. 

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The yacht was later auctioned for $37 million in 2019. The Nigerian government also dropped claims to the proceeds of the sale recently and a Texas Court ordered all proceeds should be retained by the US Government. 

However, a former unit of the Bankrupt Enron, Enron Nigeria Power Holdings claims its entitled to the proceeds and demands $22 million in a bid to get an arbitration awarded to them against the Nigerian government for suspending a contract signed with Enron in 1999 to build and operate a Power plant. 

(READ MORE: Nigeria leads Africa combined in Q2 2020 on BTC P2P)

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Enron Nigeria claims the Nigerian government dropped claims to the proceeds of the yacht’s auction in an attempt to fraudulently transfer assets to stop creditors from accessing them. Saying Nigeria dropping its claims was a recognition of the factual and legal basis” in a DOJ court filing. 

Both Nigerian and American governments have opposed Enron Nigeria’s appeal. 

Enron Nigeria Power Holdings Ltd is owned by ex-Enron staff involved in the negotiations for the Power Plant contract in Nigeria and was bought out of bankruptcy for $750,000 in 2004 by a Cayman Islands registered company. 

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An arbitration ruling in 2012 awarded Enron Nigeria Power Holdings $11.2 million including interest in damages against the Nigerian government. 

The DOJ says Mr. Aluko bought the yacht for $82 million in 2013 and funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison Madueke in exchange for NNPC contracts valued at over $1.5 billion. 

Aluko and his business partner, Olajide Omokore are also accused of laundering illicit revenues into and through the United States

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