Telcos send USSD withdrawal notice to banks over N120bn debt

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The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said the network providers have sent Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) withdrawal notices to banks.

Both the network providers and the deposit money banks are in a dispute over N120 billion debt which rose from the usage of USSD by the lenders’ customers.

He made this known in a report by The Nation on Friday, where he said the intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, hasn’t led to the big banks paying up their debt, instead, they are coming up with excuses.

So the telecommunications companies have sent a notice of withdrawal to the banks, after the expiration of the notice, the USSD service offered by the network providers will be discontinued.

Adebayo said much of the debt is owed by the tier-one banks and they have refused to pay, while the lower banks have been paying off their debt to the telcos.

“We are now commencing the implementation of the terms of the agreement by sending them notice which will expire after the notice depending on the agreement and once the service notice expires, we will begin to withdraw the service.

“I must say that some banks are paying. Unfortunately the ones that are not paying are the big banks debtors. I don’t want to mention their names. They are the big ones and that is why it has such a huge impact on the industry. So the smaller ones that are not owing much are paying; some were paying before, we don’t know what happened and they stopped paying, allowing the debts to pile up,” he was quoted in the report.

Adebayo said when the telcos start receiving payment from the N120 billion debt, that’s when the intervention of the CBN becomes effective.

“We will begin to see the intervention when the DMBs start paying. We don’t know what intervention they are doing with the banking system but we will see the impact when we start seeing money being paid by the DMBs.

“So far, we have not seen anything. We are a highly responsible corporate organisation. We are not going to yank off the plug without following due process; all we are doing now is to enforce the terms of the commercial agreement and when the day comes when the notice will expire, we will rightly disconnect,” Adebayo said.

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