The Federal government of Nigeria has ordered the immediate suspension of plans by telecommunication providers to increase charges on the use of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channels to access banking services.
MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21.
The Statement reads: “Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you,”
Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami in a swift response through a statement by his spokesman Uwa Suleiman directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend implementation until his office is properly briefed.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.
“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FllM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.”