The Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Thursday urged banks to prioritise the payment of their Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt, which he said had increased to N200 billion.
The Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, said this during the first telecoms stakeholders’ meeting with the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida, in Lagos.
Adebayo, who was speaking on behalf of telecoms operators, said although there had been talks on the issue but no considerable action was taken on the part of the banks.
He noted that if operators had to shutdown their services, bank customers would no longer be able to carry out transactions such as fund transfers through short codes, check bank details and account balances, among others, through their mobile phones.
The ALTON chairman said the debt must be paid in total, noting that telcos would not hesitate to block debtor banks from accessing the service anytime soon.
“In spite of all appeals, meetings and interventions by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and NCC, mainly during the last administration, the banks have kept mute over payment,” he said.
The chairman added that the value of the debt would keep rising based on the foreign exchange challenges in the country.
Adebayo, who said the matter needed to be resolved as fast as possible to avoid collapse of the sector, noted that the debt was not allowing operators to further expand services.