Banks Owe Telecoms N80 Billion for USSD

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CEM REPORT, COMMUNICATION | Banks operating Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) owe Telecommunications Operators N80 billion, an increase from the N42 billion reported in 2021.

According to the President Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, despite the government’s intervention in the matter, many banks were not cooperating as regard paying their debt.

He disclosed this during the ICT Growth Conference 2.0. organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), on Thursday in Lagos.

He expressed displeasure in the attitude of banks to meet their obligation of paying telecommunications providers for the service rendered after charging customers for using the service.

Some banks are responding while others are not. We are nearing that time when we have no choice but to discontinue the provision of services to banks.

“I think it is dishonourable that our colleagues in that sector know that they have an obligation to service providers and are shying away from it.

“Banks deduct charges from their customers but refuse to pay telecom operators. You don’t expect us to keep rendering services when you don’t pay.”

He added that the irony of the situation was that if it was the other way round, you could not owe the bank a cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the telecommunication operators had threatened to withdraw their USSD services to financial institutions from March 15, 2021, due to the N42 billion accumulated debt.

However, following intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the planned action was shelved.

Both parties (the telcos and the banks) went into a meeting with the Federal Government representatives.

As a fallout of the meeting, the CBN and NCC announced the introduction of N6.98 per transaction as new charges for customers using the USSD services with effect from March 16, 2021.

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