Central Bank of Nigeria withdraws Cellulant’s mobile money licence as company focuses on payment solutions

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Central Bank of Nigeria withdraws Cellulant’s mobile money licence as company focuses on payment solutions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revoked the mobile money licence of Cellulant Nigeria, a subsidiary of one of Africa’s oldest fintech companies Cellulant Corporation, according to a letter addressed to the company and seen by TechCabal.

The revocation took effect on December 6, 2023.

Cellulant is therefore leaving the consumer-facing mobile money market to focus on providing payment services to businesses. The company told TechCabal via email that it decided to exit the mobile money space and focus on providing solutions “as far back as 2021”. This informed its procurement of a Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) licence from the CBN, which has been issued and is now operational.

“The regulator did not revoke the licence as a result of infractions or any breach. The CBN succeeded in gazetting this request in December 2023, occasioned by the time it took them to conclude the process of revoking the mobile money license as requested by Cellulant,” Cellulant said in the email.

The CBN in the aforementioned letter addressed to Cellulant said it was revoking Cellulant’s mobile money licence, “following [Cellulant’s] decision to discontinue operating the licence”.

The company, which raised $54.5 million in three funding rounds between 2014 and 2018 from investors like The Rise Fund, has hit a rough patch lately. After an out-of-court settlement of a long-drawn leadership tussle with its former co-founder, Bolaji Akinboro, Cellulant has struggled to stabilise its operations and raise new funding.

In 2023, Cellulant saw the need to restructure its business, including reducing the headcount by 20% in August. In December, the company’s CEO Akshay Grover, stepped down citing personal reasons. That exit also led to another round of layoffs in the company and the announcement of an acting CEO.

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