From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has halted the impending suspension of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) banking services, planned by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
Due to lingering debt owed by commercial banks, MNOs had planned to suspend the service on Monday, March 15, 2021. The Minister however intervened by directing that MNOs to put the suspension on hold, while he called for a meeting with all stakeholders, in hopes of resolving the issue.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Minister’s Technical Assistant (Information Technology), Dr Femi Adeluyi..
MNOs had issued a statement last week through the umbrella body, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), alerting consumers of telecommunication services and the general public of the plans to suspend End-User Billing for financial transactions through USSD channels.
Furthermore, as part of measures aimed at addressing the lingering issue of the impasse in the rendering of USSD services to Banks and other financial institutions by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), an amended Determination on USSD Pricing was issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the 24th of July 2020.
The statement read in part: “The Minister sent a letter with respect to the issues to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on the 3rd of March 2021, regarding the need to direct the banks to do the needful.
“In a bid to ensure an amicable resolution of the impasse, Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, the MNOs 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 steps regarding the status of the USSD banking services.”