Following Nairametrics’ report on the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) when Banks CEOs distanced selves from the controversial charges MTN Nigeria wanted to carry out, TheCable has leaked a memo that showed that the banks had proposed to Telecommunication companies (Telcos) to charge customers directly for the USSD services.
The twist contradicts the claims of the bankers. In a statement issued by the Committee of Bank CEOs and obtained by Nairametrics, the bankers insisted that they did not ask MTN to start charging customers as contained in the text message. They said the decision on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco company, in the same way a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data.
However, in a letter addressed to the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) by the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (BOBCEO), dated September 16, 2019, the banks chiefs proposed an “orderly implementation” of end-user billing for bank customers, “aligning with the standard practice for USSD billing.”
In the memo to ALTON, the bank chiefs frowned at sharing the revenue from USSD transactions with the telcos as it claimed that the service providers, who provide the platform for the USSD service, had proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks. The banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise the cost by 450%.
It letter read, “The demand forces us to a level where we will pay N4.5 per USSD session of 20 seconds, amounting for (to) around 450% increase in tariff. Many transactions extend to two or three sessions. This is a cost that will destroy the financial inclusion strides made by banks where we have included almost 20million more citizens in the financial system by building services that run on USSD.
“We are proposing an orderly implementation end-user billing for bank customers, aligning with the standard practice for USSD billing. Customers using non-bank services already pay for USSD sessions. It forces cost transparency between the Telecoms Company and customers and will ensure the customer demands a reliable service that works when they need it at a price they can afford. In the Reverse Corporate Billing situation, we are unable to attain competitiveness nor transparency.
“We look forward to immediate dialogue and appreciate your response by Monday 23rd September. Yours faithfully,
” Bank CEOs of Nigeria.”
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 25th of February 2021, 634 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 154,476 confirmed cases.
On the 25th of February 2021, 634 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 154,476 cases have been confirmed, 131,699 cases have been discharged and 1,891 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.49 million tests have been carried out as of February 25th, 2021 compared to 1.44 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th February 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 154,476
- Total Number Discharged – 131,722
- Total Deaths – 1,891
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,489,103
According to the NCDC, the 634 new cases are reported from 22 states- Lagos (259), Osun (45), Edo(38), Ogun (35), FCT (33), Anambra (26), Imo (24), Ondo (24), Akwa Ibom (20), Plateau (20), Abia (19), Kaduna (19), Ebonyi (17), Borno (10), Rivers (10), Kano (9), Delta (8), Kebbi (7), Nasarawa (4) Oyo (3), Enugu (2) and Ekiti (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 55,122, followed by Abuja (19,115), Plateau (8,854), Kaduna (8,422), Oyo (6,708), Rivers (6,398), Edo (4,491), Ogun (4,277), Kano (3,716), Ondo (2,944), Kwara (2,875), Delta (2,539), Osun (2,326), Nasarawa (2,208), Gombe (2,031), Katsina (2,029), Enugu (1,998), Ebonyi (1,839), Anambra (1,615), and Abia (1,487).
Imo State has recorded 1,440 cases, Akwa Ibom (1,439), Borno (1,247), Bauchi (1,221), Benue (1,188), Niger (912), Ekiti (797), Sokoto (768), Bayelsa (767), Adamawa (762), Taraba (712), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (358), Yobe (268), Cross River (267), Zamfara (219), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
NIFIAN elects JAIZ Bank MD, Hassan Usman as first President
…Inaugurates pioneer EXCO members.
The Non-Interest Financial Institutions Association of Nigeria (NIFIAN), yesterday in Abuja elected the Managing Director of Jaiz Bank Plc. Hassan Usman as its pioneer President.
Usman was inaugurated alongside other six EXCO members to steer the affairs of the umbrella body of all corporate organisations offering non-interest financial and related services in the country for a first term of 2 years.
Those elected includes Hajara Adeola, Managing Director/CEO, Lotus Capital Limited as Vice-President; Norfadelizan Abdulrahman, Managing Director/CEO of TAJBank Limited as Treasurer; and Fatai Ola Bakare, an astute in-house legal counsel and Islamic Finance expert of SunTrust Bank Nigeria Limited as the Secretary-General.
Other EXCO members inaugurated yesterday include Thaibat Adeniran, Managing Director/CEO, Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Limited; Aminu Tukur, Managing Director/CEO, Noor Takaful Limited and Dr. Basheer Oshodi, CEO, TrustBank Arthur Limited.
In his opening address, Babayo Saidu, Chairman of NIFIAN’s Board of Trustees said the Association was registered on 28th August 2020, and duly incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
Parts of the objectives of NIFIAN is to promote common interest of member-organisations towards developing the non-interest financial services industry in Nigeria, creating an enabling regulatory environment through advocacy as well as deepening financial inclusion through market engagements and financial literacy. In addition, the Association aims to improve market resilience by fostering collaboration across the industry, promoting policies and programmes on Financial Inclusion, and sensitization of the populace for the economic development of the country through non-interest financial services offering.
The Executive Council is expected to steer the affairs of the Association towards the realisation of its objectives for the advancement of financial inclusion through non-interest finance in Nigeria.
In his inaugural address, Hassan Usman said the journey started more than a decade ago with Nigeria Islamic Finance Working Group, a multi-institutional platform under the auspice of EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access.)
Usman said: “As today marks a new chapter in our pursuit, I would like to reiterate the fact that we are not there yet. This course is a journey and not a destination. While the overarching objective remains constant, the detailed operational and strategic initiatives of the Association shall continue to evolve to meet the requirements of the day.
“To this end, I pledge that over the course of my tenure, I will work with my colleagues in the Council to push some prominent initiative including promotion of sound Islamic banking and financial system and practise in Nigeria; growth and development of requisite market infrastructures such as an efficient non-interest inter-bank system.
“Pursuit of harmony in Shariah pronouncements (fatwas); represent the interest of members locally and internationally; provide advice and assistance to members pertinent to the development of their institution and deepen public awareness. I look forward to working with members to make Nigeria the Islamic Finance Hub of Africa.”
In addition, the President singled-out EFInA for the role played as the founder of what becomes NIFIAN today through its concerted support for the propagation of financial inclusion initiates through the non-interest finance industry. With the inauguration of persons of track records into the Executive Council of the Association, NIFIAN is therefore set to take on the charge towards developing the Nigerian financial markets.
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