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NIGERIA: CBN Opposes MTN’s USSD Charges




The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has opposed MTN Nigeria’s plan to implement charges from 21 Oct 2019 on subscribers’ Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) access.

The Governor made the statement on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) being held at Washington DC during a media briefing.

The Governor of the CBN, Mr Emefiele stated that such moves would hamper CBN’S financial inclusion drive. The Governor also said in his statement that he had held some meetings with some telecom companies about five months prior and had come to the conclusion that the use of USSD is no additional cost but a sunk cost on the infrastructure of the telecom companies but the companies disagreed stating that it was an additional investment.

He said he had appealed to them to review the costs downwards but they refused and have gone ahead to increase it by 300%. He claimed to have informed the banks that such would not be allowed to happen and gave the banks leeway to discuss with the telecom companies as these businesses were given to the telecom companies by the banks gave.

Mr Emefiele said instructions had been given to the banks to take their business to a telecom company willing to charge the lowest rate.

A statement was also made by the minister of communication, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami claiming to be unaware of the development and requesting to be fully and properly briefed on the matter.

In the statement, Dr Pantami also instructed the telecom sector regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission, to ensure the suspension of the plans.

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