By Lucas Ajanaku
Commercial banks on Monday denied instructing MTN to deduct charges for USSD.
In an advertorial, the lenders, acting under the aegis of Body of Bank CEOs said its attention had been drawn to a text message sent by the telco concerning the issue.
“Our attention has been drawn to SMS sent on Saturday 19th October by MTN Nigeria Communications PLC to customers of banks in Nigeria in respect of the above.
The message states that the banks requested MTN to start charging customers for USSD transactions directly. It also ask customers to contact their banks for more information. We wish to state as follows:
“That the banks did not ask MTN to start charging customers as contained in the text message. The decision on whether and what amount to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco in the same way a customer is billed for calls SMS and data.
“MTN is the only telco that is yet to implement end-user billing which is the standard practice for customer initiated transactions. This is despite the fact that the banks working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have engaged MTN over a period of more than one year to try and bring down the cost of USSD to aid financial inclusion.
“That the banks are determined to pursue the Nigerian National Financial Inclusion Strategy of the Federal Government of Nigeria and we continue to advocate that telcos identify whole-heartedly with this laudable initiative and implement transparent and low pricing model in the USSD access code.
“We wish to reitrate that financial transaction charges are regulated by the CBN as stipulated in the Banks Tariff and that the charges for financial transactions carried out with banks remain unchanged.”