Banks Adopt Plan To Repay MTN, Airtel, Others N120bn USSD Debt

Banks Adopt Plan To Repay MTN, Airtel, Others N120bn USSD Debt

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Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have adopted a repayment plan to resolve their faceoff with telecommunications firms over the use of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service by the banks’ customers.

The financial institutions are owing MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom and other network providers N120 billion for the use of banks’ USSD platforms.

In the last four years, telecommunications companies have been in disagreement with the banks over their refusal to pay commission rising from the USSD charges. 

The commission owed to the network providers has increased from N32 billion in 2019 to N120 billion, prompting the telcos to threaten to prevent banks’ customers from accessing the USSD platform. 

In a recent development, a source in the umbrella body for the network providers, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said the telcos will meet to deliberate on the repayment plan tendered by the banks.

It was revealed that the repayment plan was adopted by the banks after the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “Work is going on and we would soon have a meeting with the telcos. We are going to talk about what the banks have told us. Modalities for payments, the banks are ready to pay. 

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“The CBN has called all of us to try to resolve the matter. We are looking at a way of fulfilling the promise. Banks have made commitments to pay,” the source was quoted in a Punch report on Wednesday. 

The repayment plan followed the USSD withdrawal notice sent by the network providers to the commercial banks, warning them of possible disconnection from the USSD platform. 

ALTON chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, had disclosed two months ago that the big banks have been failing to make their payment, while the lower tier banks are paying their debt.

“We are now commencing the implementation of the terms of the agreement by sending them notice which will expire after the notice depending on the agreement and once the service notice expires, we will begin to withdraw the service.

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“I must say that some banks are paying. Unfortunately the ones that are not paying are the big banks debtors. I don’t want to mention their names. They are the big ones and that is why it has such a huge impact on the industry.

“So the smaller ones that are not owing much are paying; some were paying before, we don’t know what happened and they stopped paying, allowing the debts to pile up,” Adebayo said.

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