Nigerian Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have been issued withdrawal notices over their N120 billion debt arising from usage of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
The big USSD debts owed telecom companies by Nigerian banks tend to contradict mouthwatering profits they released in their latest financial statements.
With this revelation, the real depth of the country’s financial sector challenges remains uncertain.
Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed this on Friday in a report by The Nation.
Adebayo said after the notice expires, the network providers will disconnect the banks from the USSD platforms provided by the telcos.
He said the action of the telecommunications companies was prompted by the banks’ refusal to pay the commission they owe the network providers.
ALTON is an association of network providers comprising MTN, Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile, Spectranet and many more.
The chairman of the telco association said: “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.
“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.”
According to Adebayo, the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not compiled the bigger banks to pay their debt.
He said once the telecommunications companies start getting paid for the USSD service, that’s when the telcos would know the essence of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
“We will begin to see the intervention when the DMBs start paying. We don’t know what intervention they are doing with the banking system but we will see the impact when we start seeing money being paid by the DMBs. So far, we have not seen anything,” Adebayo was quoted to have said.
He further stated that the telcos will follow due process to disconnect the banks: “We are a highly responsible corporate organisation.
“We are not going to yank off the plug without following due process; all we are doing now is to enforce the terms of the commercial agreement and when the day comes when the notice will expire, we will rightly disconnect.”