Telcos insist banks must pay N120bn USSD debt or face disconnection

By Felicia Nwosu

Coming on the heels of lingering unsettled debts by some financial institutions, telecommunications firms have reiterated that they will not be forgiving the N120bn Unstructured Supplementary Service Data owe to them, insisting that the concerned banks must pay or face disconnection.

The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, while expressing his displeasure, disclosed that since 2019, banks and telcos have been at each other’s throats over the payment of USSD services. He said the banks have not expressed any readiness to settle their debt despite disconnection notice served by regulatory approval from the Nigerian Communication Commission to disconnect banks from USSD access.

“There has been no progress and we are going to go ahead. As I said to you the last time, the parties are now following the terms of the agreement between them.

“Individual operators have different models of agreement with different banks. Parties are now following that. Appropriately, each will enforce the disconnection when the time is appropriate. But I can’t say to you that the problem is solved, and I can’t say to you that the problem will go away. For those who are thinking that the banks will not pay, and the operator will forgive it, that will never happen. The sums involved must be paid a hundred percent. We are not backing down,” he stated

Adebayo added that the telecoms industry intends to insist on payment or disconnect services. He noted that banks have a moral obligation to pay since they have been collecting payment from their customers for the service.

“The banks have the moral obligation to pay. You can see that people are been held to account. Because these are services that are rendered and paid for. They deduct money from users of the channel, whereas the money due to the operator is not remitted.

“They are taking money from the bank account of users already. They have the moral burden to pay the debt, and it is not going away.”

“The process of disconnection is ongoing, appropriately we will take that action when we get to the end of the bridge,” he asserted.


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