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Central Bank of Nigeria Says Nigerians Will Be Charged A Flat Fee Of ₦6.98 For USSD Banking Transaction

FILE PHOTO: Central Bank of Nigeria’s logo is seen on the headquarters building in Abuja, Nigeria January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo – RC1E81C7FA80

Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) made it known that from the 15th of March 2021, the decision to cut USSD banking will take effect. In a statement made by the chairman, he revealed that Nigerian banks that provide banking services for its customers owe the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) the sum of ₦42 billion which is equivalent to $102.4 million. The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) comprises of internet service providers and all the telecommunication companies in Nigeria such as Airtel, MTN Nigeria, 9mobile and Glo.

Following the decision of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) made an announcement that starting from Tuesday, the 16th of March 2021, that customers are to pay a flat fee of ₦6.98 for every financial transaction they carry out via the USSD channel in relation to CBN-licensed institution and bank services. The Nigerian Communications Commission also revealed in a joint statement with the Central Bank of Nigeria that the new pricing format automatically replaces the former per session billing structure. According to the apex bank, this new system will ensure much cheaper average cost for customers and well as make sure that a channel that has served for a long period doesn’t come to a standstill.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision comes as a solution to the dispute between banks and the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) over the ₦42 billion debt accrued in outstanding payment. The new rate set as charges will be charged directly from the bank accounts of customers on behalf of mobile network operators.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), ‘the general public is reminded that the USSD channel is optional, as several alternative channels such as mobile apps, internet banking, and ATMs may be used for financial transactions. The apex bank also reassured members of the public of its dedication to providing lower costs as it works with relevant bodies in addressing this issue.

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