The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on March 16, introduced a new charge of N6.98 for every Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service transaction done.
In a joint statement released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) acting director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) director, public affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, on Tuesday, says that the new charges replaces the current per billing structure.
It was gathered that this development was part of the agreement reached between banks and telecommunication operators after they met to discuss the N42bn debt owed by financial institutions.
“This replaces the current per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion. This approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction,” the statement reads.
“To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD charges will be collected on behalf of MNOs directly from customers bank accounts. Banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for use of the USSD channel.
“A settlement plan for outstanding payments incurred for USSD services, previously rendered by the MNOs, is being worked out by all parties in a bid to ensure that the matter is fully resolved.”
It noted that the impending suspension of banks from the USSD channel is hereby vacated.
In 2019, telcos said they could no longer provide the services for free and proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks.
However, the banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise costs by 450 percent.
The meeting was attended by representatives of MNOs, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), DMBs, CBN, and NCC.