CBN Gives Update on Dispute Between Access Bank, Zenith , MTN, Airtel and Others
CBN has given an Update on the Dispute Between Access Bank, Zenith, MTN Airtel, and Others.
Resolution of Longstanding Telecom Operators and Banks Dispute Over USSD Debt
The persistent and contentious dispute between telecom operators and commercial banks in Nigeria, stemming from a significant debt of N150 billion related to Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) usage by bank customers, has finally found resolution. This resolution comes as a result of the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Involvement of CBN in Resolving the Dispute
Umar Danbatta, the Vice Chairman and CEO of NCC, made a significant announcement during a recent forum in Lagos organized by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ALTON). He disclosed that the CBN intervened to bring an end to this protracted conflict between telecom operators and commercial banks.
During this forum, it was revealed that there was a crucial meeting involving the chief executives of the banks and representatives from the telecom operators. During this gathering, the CBN acknowledged the substantial debt owed by the banks and emphasized the importance of settling this outstanding amount. As part of the resolution, charges for services provided via USSD would now be paid, alleviating a significant point of contention.
Customer Billing and Corporate Billing
Danbatta clarified that this resolution should prevent customers from being individually billed, instead advocating for a corporate billing approach. The aim is to ensure that this mutually agreed-upon arrangement is implemented fully and effectively.
Contribution of Telecom Sector to GDP
Beyond the resolution of the dispute, Danbatta highlighted the remarkable contribution of the Information Technology (IT) sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He pointed out that the IT sector’s share of the GDP is estimated at an impressive 19.5%, making it the second-largest contributor to the nation’s economy, trailing only the agricultural industry.
Acknowledgment of Industry Challenges
In addition, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, acknowledged the challenges faced by operators in the telecom sector. He specifically noted the high cost of doing business, which has resulted in some major operators posting losses while others are grappling with financial constraints.
CBN’s Intervention in the N120 Billion USSD Debt Dispute
Furthermore, reports indicate that the Central Bank of Nigeria has also stepped in to address a separate dispute involving telecommunication companies and Nigerian banks over a substantial debt of N120 billion. This debt pertains to services rendered through Unstructured Supplementary Service (USSD). The contentious nature of this disagreement had prompted the NCC to authorize telecom companies to disconnect the banks.
In conclusion, the resolution of the longstanding USSD debt dispute between telecom operators and commercial banks represents a significant milestone. It not only facilitates a more harmonious relationship between these key players but also underscores the vital role of the telecom sector in Nigeria’s economic landscape. Moreover, it sheds light on the need to address challenges facing the industry, ensuring its sustained growth and development.