Telecommunications companies have insisted that the banks have to pay the N42 billion debt for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the dispute.
This follows the accumulation of the debt to the mobile network operators over a period of about 1 year for services rendered to the deposit money banks.
According to a report from Punch, this was made known by the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, who said that this has become a moral burden on the banks.
What the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria is saying
Adebayo, in his statement, said, “The over N42bn debt remains outstanding and the banks have to pay the telcos. It has become a moral obligation because the banks used the services, debited their customer accounts and now not paying the telcos.
Who do they expect to pay and what were the deductions made from their customers for USSD services, which you and I were debited for?
What is the deduction meant to for? It’s a debt and the banks have to pay the operators. It’s a moral obligation.”
On the association’s next step should the banks refuse to pay, Adebayo stated that the CBN and NCC would have to intervene.
He said, “We are hoping the regulators, CBN and NCC, having intervened by preventing operators from disconnecting the USSD services, will resolve the lingering debt issues.
“They (banks) owe the operators and they will pay. Otherwise, where is the money deducted for USSD services from their customers? You and I know we were charged for USSD transactions; what is the deduction meant for?”
What you should know
- It can be recalled that telecommunication firms under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had threatened to withdraw their Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to financial institutions from March 15 due to the N42 billion accumulated debt.
- However, following the intervention of the CBN and NCC, the planned action was shelved with both parties (the telcos and the banks), going 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 Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services with effect from March 16, 2021.
- Recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, reportedly stated that Nigerian banks were not indebted to telecommunications firms for using telcos platforms to provide payment services.
- The statement made the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, ask CBN to call the banks to order as regards agreements reached on the settling of the N42bn.