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FG stops telcos intended USSD services withdrawal over banks debts

Telecom operators in Nigeria had planned to suspend the USSD services because banks are in a debt of over N42 billion, however, the FG has stepped in to block the move for now.

The suspension was initially planned to go into effect on Moday, 15 March 2021. According to Nairametrics, telecommunication firms under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had reached the decision on Friday, 12 March 2021.

The association had reached an agreement with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) before putting the plan in motion. It was supposed to disconnect the Financial Service Providers (FSPs) from USSD services until they cleared their debts.

The USSD services withdrawal would be in phases starting with the most significant debtors. However, in a statement signed by the Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Femi Adeluyi. this would now be ‘put on hold’.

Also read: Nigerian FinTech Startups Series: Flutterwave – A guide

“In a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the impasse, Dr Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and the financial institutions.

“The meeting is scheduled to hold on Monday, 15th of March, 2021. The outcome of the meeting will determine the next step regarding the status of the USSD financial services,” the statement reads in part.

At this time, there is no reason for end-users or customers to panic yet because the plan is to find a cost-sharing solution that will not affect them in the ‘long-term’. However, experts are of the opinion that USSD charges may increase for customers soon.

Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.



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