Finance ICT

Telcos seek CBN, NCC intervention over alleged USSD debt

Telecommunications companies are calling for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission over the lingering N42bn indebtedness of Deposit Money Banks to telcos.

 Representatives of mobile network operators said on Friday that the N42bn, which accumulated since over a year, was for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data rendered to banks by telcos. 

“The over N42bn debt remains outstanding and the banks have to pay the telcos,” the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, told our correspondent.

 He added, “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 what would be the next step should the banks refuse to pay, Adebayo stated that the CBN and NCC would have to intervene.  

“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?”

 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.

 “There is no such thing as an obligation due from banks to telcos,” he reportedly stated.

 Also reacting to this, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, said the CBN should call the banks to order as regards agreements reached on the settling of the N42bn. 

Nnamani, in a video response to an enquiry by our correspondent on the matter, stated that the agreement that was reached recently between telcos and banks in the presence of regulators and the communications minister was breached by the banks.

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