Telecommunication companies are considering the possibility of withdrawing Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs). This is a last-gasp effort to recover a longstanding debt of N120 billion related to Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services.
The telcos are also threatening to take legal action against the banks as the ongoing issue, spanning approximately four years, is causing a growing divide between the telecom sector and the financial industry.
The Guardian reported that Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), expressed his disappointment that this matter has become politicized.
Adebayo emphasized that this is fundamentally a commercial matter, referring to it as a situation of willing buyers and willing sellers. He explained that discontinuing the service would have been appropriate when the banks failed to pay.
In his words, “So, when you open commercial agreement to political interference, you get into this kind of problem. That is why we say emphatically that some issues, including price review, should be left to market forces, not to be determined by government, because it is not sustainable.”
He said political interference prevented the enforcement of commercial terms. He went on to strongly advocate for keeping certain issues, including price reviews, in the hands of market forces rather than government intervention, as it is more sustainable.