The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami is already working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to resolve the over N17billion that commercial banks in Nigeria are owing telecommunications companies.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who stated this yesterday at the sectoral virtual forum, organized by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), disclosed that the money is being owned the telcos following the regulator’s suspension of its Determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) Pricing last year.

“Commercial banks in the country are owing telecommunications companies over N17 billion. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami had already been briefed on the development with a view to ensuring a quick settlement of the debt,” he announced while making a remark at the virtual forum on ‘Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecoms Companies in the Era of Covid-19 and Post Covid-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development’.

The Nigerian Communications Commission had in furtherance of its mandate to protect the interests of consumers and support a robust telecommunications sector, recently announced that it had revised the Determination on the USSD.

In a statement it released through its Director of Public Affairs, Dr, Ikechukwu Adinde, the telecom regulator said the amendment to its USSD Determination was necessitated by a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.

The Commission said as a responsive and effective regulatory authority, it recognises that its policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand.

“In the interest of the consumers and other stakeholders, the Commission revised the Determination previously issued by removing the Price Floor and the Cap to allow Mobile Network Operators and the banks negotiate rates that will be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned,” the statement quoted Danbatta as saying.

The NCC also determined that Mobile Network Operators must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing, but revert to corporate billing. The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. Banks and Financial Institutions).

Meanwhile, the NCC said it has resolved several consumer-related issues with the introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code in 2015, which had less than 500,000 people in the country, activated the code, but there are now 22,722,366 lines on the DND


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