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Telcos threaten to withdraw USSD services over N80bn debt owed by banks

Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) says the accumulated debt from the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), owed to them by banks, rose to N80 billion as at November this year.

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of ATCON, made this known in a recent interview with Thisday.

He said a time would soon come when telecommunication companies would be forced to withdraw from USSD services as banks refused to pay.

“The debt is rising and has not been paid by the banks. As of November 2022, the accumulated debt rose to over N80 billion. When we started the argument in 2019, it was N32 billion, and they continue to claim that they are not owing, but our investigation shows that they are still using the USSD platform to offer banking services to their customers, yet they are not remitting to telecom operators who own the USSD platform,” Adebayo said.

He said the issue has to be addressed as it cannot be wished away.

“Time will soon come when we will be constrained to withdraw the service and many bank customers that depend on the USSD service will suffer for it and it will affect the economy. It is hounorable to pay their debts and they have to pay,” Adebayo said.

“We are warning that the banks’ action in refusing to pay their debt, will have negative consequence on the CBN’s cashless economy agenda for the country. It will be a threat to cashless economy. So, CBN should advise money deposit banks to pay up the accumulated debts.” 


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