The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday directed Banks to charge customers ₦6.98 per transaction for USSD services.
The Apex bank set the flat rate of ₦6.98 per transaction every time customers use the USSD services effective from Tuesday, 16 2021 in a joint statement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) signed by CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi; and Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde.
According to Channels TV, the deal was part of an agreement reached with banks following a disagreement between banks and telecom firms over USSD and other text message transaction requests.
The document read; “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.”
“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.”
According to People’s Gazette, the new rates appears to be the lasting solution drawn at the meeting held by the banking sector and telecommunications under ALTON on Monday with the motive to resolve the ₦42 billion debt the banks owed mobile operators.
Last week, the Federal Government had informed telecommunication operators in Nigeria to suspend their threat to withdraw USSD services over the ₦42 billion debt owed by the banks.
This begs the question, is this the perfect solution to resolve the alarming debt the banks owed mobile operators? Considering the fact that the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics NBS published the reports that states Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 27.1% to 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020).