Nigerians to face USSD hitches as telecom operators disconnect banks over N120bn debts
The Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria (ALTON) has officially announced the withdrawal of USSD services it provides to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
The association said the reason for the withdrawal of the services was due to over N120billion owed members by the deposit money banks.
It added that the level of debt was no longer unsustainable given the time/value huge cost of the continuous upgrade and operation of the systems and infrastructure dedicated to supporting USSD transactions.
ALTON stated this in a statement issued on Friday, which was jointly signed by Chairman and Head of Operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga, respectively.
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According to the statement, DMBs several times forestalled efforts of multi-party stakeholders in resolving the issues as they always come up with reasons to take several steps back while the debts continued to pile up.
According to the statement, “Every time some progress is made, the Deposit Money Banks, DMBs come up with reasons to take stakeholders several steps back, in this matter.
”Members of the public will recall that Mobile Network Operators, MNOs and DMBs have had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs (which currently stands at over N120 Billion).”
It added “Due to the inability of MNOs and DMBs to reach an agreement on the issues, MNOs in 2021 sought to disconnect DMBs due to the unpaid debts which stood at N42 Billion as of that time.
”It is now obvious that the level of debt is unsustainable given the time/value huge cost of the continuous upgrade and operation of the systems and infrastructure dedicated to supporting USSD transactions of DMBs.
“In view of the foregoing, unless DBMs meet their debt obligations, MNOs will disconnect all banks indebted to them for USSD services rendered.”