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Reps ask telcos to suspend withdrawal of USSD service

Reps ask telcos to suspend withdrawal of USSD service
March 16
15:09 2021

The house of representatives has asked telecommunication operators to halt the planned withdrawal of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD).

TheCable had reported that the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) threatened to suspend USSD services over N42 billion debt owed by financial service providers.

However, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, on Saturday asked ALTON to halt the planned suspension.

The house of representatives weighed in on the matter on Tuesday after adopting a motion sponsored by Ossai Nicholas Ossai, Delta lawmaker representing Ndokwa/Ukwuani federal constituency.

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The lawmaker said the USSD makes it possible for millions of Nigerians who do not have smartphones or internet connections to access financial services.

He decried the lingering disputes between telecommunication operators and banks despite the intervention of the ministry of digital economy.

The lawmaker said: “If the USSD service is withdrawn, Nigerian telecommunication users will fall back and continue with their old traditional modes and channels, such as Mobile bank apps, internet banking, ATM, PoS, that makes banking services uninteresting, inconveniencing, with high cost of financial transactions, which will further put our health in danger as a result of crowding together.”

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After the unanimous adoption of the motion, the house asked telecommunication operators to halt the planned action.

The lower legislative chamber also mandated its committee on telecommunications to liaise with telecommunications operators, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and financial institutions to resolve the impasse and report back within six weeks.

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