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Market Digest Nigeria

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MTN USSD Services Will Be Restored Soon – FG

The Federal Government, through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  Dr Ali Pantami, has brokered a meeting with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCCS), over the suspension of MTN services.

Many MTN users had lamented the inability of buying airtime or data via mobile application or the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes.

Many Nigerians had taken to various social media platforms to complain about the difficulty in buying airtime or mobile data because all the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country had blocked MTN from banking channels.

The telco had advised subscribers to seek alternative means of recharging their phones.

“Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you,” one message read.

Another message read: “Please be informed that some of MyCustomers may not be able to purchase airtime and data recharges via banks including MOD and myMTN App.

“Please pacify MyCustomers and educate them to use MTNTopit, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App.”

However, the Minister, in a Twitter post, said a meeting with the regulators of the two industries (CBN and NCC) had been held promising that services would be restored soon.

“On the fallout between MTN and some banks on USSD services today, I engaged with both regulators, the Governor of Central Bank and EVC of NCC. We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!” the minister said.

In 2019, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications of Nigeria (ALTON) had threatened to shut down the USSD platforms in the country over payment issues.

Telcos had insisted on charging the banks but the CBN Governor, Godwin Emiefele, disagreed, saying the action would raise the costs for banks.

However, the CBN and NCC after a meeting on March 15, 2021, pegged ₦6.98 for customers who use the USSD for mobile transaction.

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