Access to financial services in Nigeria is usually accompanied with some gridlocks. To mitigate the situation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will incentivize Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and Super Agents with the financial support of up ₦500 million.
The development would come under its Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF). The CBN disclosed this in a document on the SANEF Framework that was posted on its official website on 9th of April, 2019.
Also, the financial facility was introduced through a collaboration between the CBN and some commercial banks and would have an interest rate of five percent (5%) per annum with a maximum tenor of 10 years. The disbursement is expected to hold in tranches. This is however subject to satisfactory performance by the Money Mobile Operators or the accredited agents.
More so, SANEF provides financing to CBN-licenced accredited Agents and the MMOs, to expand their networks to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Again, the facility is expected to enhance the capacity of the operators to roll-out more financial access points across the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria particularly, in areas considered as financially excluded locations.
CBN highlighted criteria to be eligible for the loan which includes; MMOs and accredited Super Agents need to demonstrate capacity in agent network roll-out and management over a period not less than six (6)months of commercial operations.
Additionally, beneficiaries shall not have a non-performing facility under any CBN intervention; verified existing and running technology infrastructure (software, hardware, and processes) for agent management and also, a verified existing provision of their services.
In the same vein, beneficiaries must have verified existing agent structure presence in at least 10 states and 100 LGAs across the country; evidence of agent banking transaction and operations based on returns to the CBN and six months transaction data on the CBN’s Global Mobile Payments Regulatory and Monitoring Platform (GMPM). Also, a certified Financial Systems platform application; Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) and compliance or otherwise with relevant industry certifications.
Furthermore, the loans would be disbursed through Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) for on-lending to MMOs and accredited Super Agents within the timeframe prescribed by CBN while the credit risk is to be borne by the PFIs who will take three of the five percent (3-5 %) interest on the facility.
Related to the above, the CBN warned that beneficiaries of the facility granted to the MMOs and Super Agents under the framework stated that diversion of the fund shall attract a penalty at the prevailing lending rate of the PFI and bar the PFI from further participation under SANEF scheme.