The Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced new charges for customers using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services, effective Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
According to the apex bank, customers will pay a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use USSD services.
The Street Journal had, over the weekend, reported that telecom operators had threatened to withdraw USSD services over the N42bn debt being owed by banks.
However, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had convened a meeting with financial institutions and mobile network operators on Monday so that both parties could find a common ground.
The CBN noted that the new charges was part of the agreement reached when banks and telecommunication operators met following the meeting to discuss the N42bn debt banks owed mobile operators.
This development was contained in a statement released on Tuesday and jointly signed by the CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi; and Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde.
The statement read in part:
“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 Business) 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.
“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 channel.”