Telecom companies are deliberating over a repayment proposal put forth by Deposit Money Banks to resolve the lingering N120 billion debt related to the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service, Punch Newspapers has reported.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is stepping in to mediate in the dispute and has organised a forthcoming meeting involving both parties, the newspapers said.
According to a representative from the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, the primary body representing telcos, progress is being made in addressing the issue.
“Work is going on and we would soon have a meeting with the telcos. We are going to talk about what the banks have told us. Modalities for payments, the banks are ready to pay,” the representative shared.
The CBN’s intervention underscores its commitment to resolving the matter, and the source expressed optimism about finding a solution. “The CBN has called all of us to try to resolve the matter. We are looking at a way of fulfilling the promise. Banks have made commitments to pay.”
The debt situation has seen an escalation in 2023, mainly attributed to the sustained use of the USSD channel. Since 2019, telecom companies and banks have been embroiled in a disagreement regarding the USSD debt payment.
During that period, telcos asserted that banks owed them a substantial N32 billion, which stemmed from providing financial services through USSD.
As the telecom industry and banks explore options for resolving the lingering USSD debt, stakeholders are hopeful that the proposed repayment plan could mark a turning point in this prolonged issue.