Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for the establishment and regulation of payments service holding companies (PSHCs) in Nigeria.
Musa Jimoh, CBN’s Director of Payments System Management Department announced this in a circular on Tuesday.
The guideline requires companies that intend to offer both switching and processing, and mobile money services to set up a PSHC structure.
“This arrangement would prevent commingling of activities, facilitate management of risks and enable the Central Bank of Nigeria exercise adequate regulatory oversight on all the companies operating within the Group (PSHC),” the circular reads.
CBN said promoters of a PSHC shall be required to submit a formal application for the grant of a licence.
However, it said the application process will be in two phases: approval-in-principle (AIP) and a final licence.
According to the guideline, the capital requirement to apply for an AIP is “a non-refundable application fee of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira only) or such other amount that the CBN may specify from time to time; payable to the Central Bank of Nigeria, through electronic transfer.
“Not later than six (6) months after obtaining the AIP, the promoters of a proposed PSHC shall submit an application to the CBN for the grant of a final licence.
“The application shall be accompanied with non-refundable licensing fee of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira only), or such other amount that the CBN may specify from time to time, payable to the Central Bank of Nigeria by electronic transfer”.
The apex bank explained that a PSHC will be set up for the purposes of making and managing equity investment in two or more companies being its subsidiaries, which are payments service providers across three categories: mobile money operations, switching and processing, and payment solution services.
“Payments Service Holding Companies shall be non-operating, existing solely to carry out investment in approved subsidiaries without engaging in the day-to-day management and operations of subsidiaries.
“It shall have a board size of between 5 and 10 or as determined by applicable CBN Corporate Governance Guidelines.”
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CBN added that no PSHC is allowed to borrow from the Nigerian banking system for the purpose of capitalising itself or any of its subsidiaries.
The framework is sequel to a recent approval of new licence categorisations for participants in the Nigerian payments system.
The new payments system regulation earlier released by the bank had required companies desirous of operating more than one licence category, to set up a PSHC with the activities of subsidiaries clearly delineated.