Starting from Monday, MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Network Operators (MNO) will commence a N4 per 20 seconds charges on bank transactions via Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes.
Several networks have sent out SMS notifying its subscribers of the new charge.
“Yello, as requested by your bank, from Oct 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.
“Yello, please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”
Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) may not be unaware of the development as the message suggested.
This means every time you try to purchase airtime or make funds transfer via the USSD code of your bank, your mobile network operator will charge you N4 for every 20 seconds you spend using the medium.
The development has since seen Nigerians lamenting on social media.
In a counter development, the Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami has ordered the suspension of the planned charges on USSD transactions.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson for the minister, Uwa Suleiman stated that the minister wasn’t informed of the development and as such directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure operators suspend the plan until the minister is fully briefed.
“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami 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,” the statement reads.
If implemented, it will hamper the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion plan to reach an inclusion of 80% by 2020. Already, Nigerians are already rattled by the apex bank’s cashless policy that sees an individual pay 2 and 3 per cent for deposit and withdrawal in excess of N500,000 and 3 and 5 per cent for corporates for deposit and withdrawal in excess of N3 million.
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