Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted it Approval-in-Principle (AiP) to operate as a super-agent.

The approval comes days after the parent company also announced the AiP for it to run as a payment service bank in the country.

Airtel Africa, the holding company, which has over 51 million subscribers in Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

“Airtel on November 4, 2021, received approval in principle for a Payment Service Bank (‘PSB’) licence, but the super-agent licence is different from that,” the statement said.

“The PSB licence is required for Airtel to be able to provide financial services in Nigeria such as accepting cash deposits and carrying out payments and remittances, issuing debit and prepaid cards, operating electronic wallets, and rendering other financial services,” Airtel said.

“Under the super-agent licence we would be able to create an agent network that can service the customers of licensed Nigerian banks, payment service banks and licenced mobile money operators in Nigeria,” it added.

This brings Airtel Africa head-to-head with previously licensed super-agents such as Interswitch, Unified Payments Services, Paga, and Etranzact among others.

With this new entrant into the super-agent network, banks’ agency platforms may also come under pressure, especially the likes of Firstmonie, UBA Agency Banking and FCMB which seem to have gained significant mileage.

As a super-agent, Airtel would be responsible for monitoring and supervising the activities of the agents in addition to taking all other measures, including onsite visits, to ensure that agents operate strictly within the requirements of the law, guidelines and the contract among other responsibilities as prescribed by the CBN.

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