Pantami engages CBN, NCC over USSD dispute between MTN, Nigerian banks


Pantami engages CBN, NCC over USSD dispute between MTN, Nigerian banks



Isa Pantami, the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said he had the Nigerian bank and telecoms regulators over an ongoing dispute between MTN Nigeria and deposit money banks in the countries.

As earlier recorded by Business Metrics, the dispute bothers on percentage commission due Value Added Service (VAS) aggregators for Unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) transaction conducted on MTN’s network.

In a tweet on his official Twitter handle, the minister stated that “On the fallout between @MTNNG and some banks on USSD services today, I engaged with both regulators, the Governor of @cenbank and EVC @NgComCommission. We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!”

We reported that Nigerian banks restricted transactions on USSD channels with Nigeria’s biggest mobile network operator, MTN over a dispute on vending commission rate.

The restriction which took effect today as a result of the reduction of commission accruable to telecommunication Value Added Services (VAS) aggregators and banks from 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent by MTN.

The aggregators alleged that had on March 31 informed them about a reduction in the commission earned by them which took effect yesterday, April 1, 2021. Both the aggregators and the banks were uncomfortable with the new rate and the banks decided to restrict USSD channel transactions with MTN Nigeria to show their annoyance.

This new dimension is a dent on the recent resolution by both the telecommunications and banking industry regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the USSD dispute which has lingered since 2019.

Last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) unveiled a new pricing model for USSD short code services for transacting mobile banking services, putting behind the two industry operators, the disagreement over a pricing model and modality for offsetting a debt of N42 billion owed the telecom operators by the banks.

It was resolved by the regulators that effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction per transaction., replacing the disputed Session Billing method.