Nigerians will now pay a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services, the Central Bank of Nigeria, said on Tuesday.
The apex bank said the new charges was part of the agreement reached when banks and telecommunication operators met on Monday to discuss the N42bn debt owed mobile operators by banks.
This was contained in a statement released on Tuesday and jointly signed by the apex bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi; and Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde.
It partly read, “We are pleased to announce that after comprehensive deliberations on the key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties was agreed thus”
Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs (Deposit Money Banks) and all CBN-licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction. 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.
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To promote transparency in its administration, the new USSD charges will be collected on behalf of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) directly from customers’ bank accounts. Banks shall not impose additional charges on customers for us of the USSD. It was recalled how the Federal Government had last week asked telecommunication operators to put on hold, their impending suspension of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data services over a N42bn debt owed by banks.
This was contained in a statement signed by Femi Adeluyi, technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.
This was after the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria said telcos will disconnect Financial Service Providers from USSD services from March 15 until they pay their debt of over N42bn.
ALTON had explained that the service withdrawal becomes necessary due to the lack of agreement on a payment structure with the banks that did not involve the end-user being asked to pay.
However, in the statement on Saturday night titled, ‘Impending Suspension of USSD Banking Services Put On Hold’, the minister asked the mobile operators to abort the action.
The statement partly read, “In a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the impasse, Dr Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and the financial institutions.
The meeting was scheduled to hold on Monday, 15th of March, 2021.
“The outcome of the meeting will determine the next step regarding the status of the USSD financial services.”