USSD Debt Hits N100 Billion As Banks, Telcos Seek Resolution

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The accumulated debt from Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD, which Deposit Money Banks owe telecommunication firms has risen to over N100bn.
As a result, banks and telcos are expected to hold another round of meetings with a view to resolving the deadlock.
The debt was put at N80bn a few months ago.
The Head of Operations of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Gbolahan Awonuga, in a conversation with the media, confirmed that USSD debts had grown from N80bn as of November 2022 to over N100bn In April.
According to him, much progress regarding repayment has not been made, with telcos and banks still locked up in discussions.
“It is still there. The banks and MNOs are still discussing, there is no way forward. The debt has continued to increase and is now over N100bn”, he said.
Bank customers use USSD codes to transfer money, check account balances, and do other transactions without Internet connectivity. Despite its relevance, banks, and telcos have been at odds since 2019 over the non-remittance of USSD fees.
Last year, the Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, disclosed that USSD had risen to N80bn from N32bn in 2019. At the time, he said telcos were getting to a point when they would no longer support USSD services. On December 30, 2022, he said, “We have sought regulatory approval to pursue partial removal.
“We would start disconnecting those who owe us in batches, the highest debtor scenario. We don’t know as regards the timing because we are required to get approval before acting. But we would certainly commence the process once it is approved.”