The Federal Government of Nigeria responded to the cry of telecoms subscribers over the introduction of charges on banking services request through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), sometimes referred to as “Quick Codes” or “Feature codes” used by GSM subscribers for self service banking operations. The responds issued by the minister of communications ordered MTN Nigeria to stop the contemplated charges.
MTN Nigeria became the first TELCO to fix the charges and had on Sunday, October 20, 2019 notified customers that they will be debited N4 per 20 seconds when they use USSD for banking services. It will be recalled that banks also charge and share funds with the telecomms service providers on the same service. Subscribers and even the CBN Governor is said to have condemned such price regime as an exploitation of the telephone banking service users.
However, In a statement signed by Uwa Suleiman, the spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications, ‘the attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.
The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.