Bank operators risk losing USSD services over N80bn ALTON debt
December 28, 2022218 views0 comments
By Cynthia Ezekwe
The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has threatened to suspend its unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) to banks over an accumulated debt of N80 billion owed by the banks in the last quarter of the year.
Gbenga Adebayo, the chairman of ATCON, made the disclosure recently in a media interview where he stated that the debt keeps increasing, without banks proffering avenues to settle the debts.
According to Adebayo, the debt has posed a big problem that might result in telecommunication companies withdrawing from USSD services as banks refused to pay.
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The ALTON chairman noted that on March 12, 2021, telecom operators made a move to suspend the USSD service as a result of N42 billion debt, accumulated by banks, but the move was stopped by Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy.
“The debt is rising and has not been paid by the banks. As of November 2022, the accumulated debt rose to over N80 billion. When we started the argument in 2019, it was N32 billion, and they continue to claim that they are not owing, but our investigation shows that they are still using the USSD platform to offer banking services to their customers, yet they are not remitting to telecom operators who own the USSD platform,” he said.
Adebayo called on the apex bank to advise Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) that have been at odds with telecom operators since 2019 over non-remittance of USSD fees, to pay up accumulated debts, stating that failure to do so will have negative consequence on the CBN’s cashless economy agenda for the country.
He further stated that the failure to make the payment will result in the withdrawal of the service, which will have a negative effect on customers that depend on USSD service, and in turn affect the economy.