What you need to know:
- Bank of Uganda says it is still accessing Lyca Mobile's application to operate a mobile money platform
Bank of Uganda has said it is currently assessing an application in which Lyca Mobile is seeking to operate two systems including payment services provider and payment systems operator, which largely relate to mobile money operations.
In an emailed response, Mr Kenneth Egesa, the Bank of Uganda director communications, said Lyca Mobile had applied for a payment services provider and payment systems operator licenses, which are still under assessment.
“The application is undergoing the mandatory regulatory rigors or vetting process. The licenses will be issued once the process is concluded and the public will be advised accordingly,” he said without giving more details.
Companies seeking to operate payment and money transfer systems are, under the National Payment Systems Act, required to apply for appropriate licenses from Bank of Uganda.
As of October, Bank of Uganda had issued licenses to at least 27 companies, of which some are operating as payment services provider, payment systems, or both, and issuer of payment instruments.
If granted, Lyca will be the third telecom to hold a payment services provider and payment systems operator licenses, after MTN and Airtel, and the sixth company to hold such as licence.
MTN and Airtel are currently using the two licenses to operate mobile money businesses.
It was not immediately clear how Lyca plans to deploy the two licenses but people close to the matter said the telecom, which has largely concentrated on provision of data since it entered Uganda in 2020, is soon expected to launch its mobile money business platform.
Mobile money has become a key revenue stream for telecoms and is poised as an important factor in Uganda’s agenda to achieve a cashless economy.
Under the National Payment Systems Act, mobile money is run as an independent business from telecommunication services and is regulated by the Central Bank.
The Act, which was first implemented in May 2021, saw Bank of Uganda issue two payment services provider and payment systems operator licenses to MTN Mobile Money Uganda and Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda.