Reps ask telecom operators to halt planned suspension of USSD


The House of Representatives has asked the mobile telecommunication operators in Nigeria to put on hold the planned suspension of the USSD system.

The green chamber resolved to mandate the House Committee on Communications to mediate between Mobile operators and Banks on the N42 billion liability due to the use of the USSD.

The resolutions followed a motion on matters of urgent public importance moved by Nicholas Ossai on Tuesday during plenary.

Ossai in his motion expressed concerns on the lingering crisis between banks and mobile operators, on who to bear the burden of the cost of Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD).

According to Ossai, the banks planned to suspend the service of USSD on the 15th of March, 2021 as banks are not willing to take on the liability.

He also informed the House that interventions by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission failed to resolve the impasse.

Ossai said the suspension of the USSD service will derail the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as he informed the House that over N390 billion was a transaction between July 2020 and now.

He said: “The USSD makes it possible for Nigerians without access to internet or banking to make transactions, particularly with COVID restrictions.

“Since October 2019, there has been a dispute between telecom operators in Nigeria and Banks over USSD service sessions. Banks want telecoms operators to charge customers directly, but the telcos insist that the service is offered to banks, therefore, banks should pay.”

Reacting to the motion, the Chairman House Committee on Communications Akeem Adeyemi said the banks ought to bear the burden of paying for the use of USSD.

The Committee has been given 6 weeks to report its findings to the House.

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