The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta on Thursday announced that the Deposit Money Banks owe telecommunications companies N42 billion for services provided by the mobile network operator through the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data.

Danbatta who made this announcement during his lecture at the virtual 2021 edition of the Bullion Lecture explained that the indebtedness of the banks to mobile network operators had been an issue over time. He therefore stressed that the NCC was working hard to address the concern.

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According to him, the issue of the USSD has become serious between the Telcos and the banks because the telecommunication companies provide the infrastructure which the banks leverage on to provide banking services of all kinds. It is therefore expected that for this service, someone should pay.

The NCC boss noted that the investment in infrastructure that is driving the USSD service is a huge investment that the Telcos made.

“It is expected that they (Telcos) will recoup their investments in order to continue and to expand the service. About N42bn that is owed the Telcos has not been paid by the banks for the provision of this service.” He added.

Danbatta said “The telecommunications companies cannot unilaterally withdraw this service because it will be seen as a subversive act, undermining the digital inclusion strategy of the present government.

“And no government will sit back and watch while services that empower citizens are being tampered with or withdrawn. No government will standby and watch this to happen.”

In order to address the situation, Danbatta said the NCC would soon engage the DMBs and ensure that the matter was resolved.

“So, in the next couple of days, we are poised to engage the banks and ensure we reach an amicable resolution where the first item on the agenda that will feature is the payment of this N42bn accumulated debts to the telecommunications companies.”

He further stated that it was important for the country to meet the critical requirements needed in order to succeed in its drive towards digital inclusion in Nigeria.