Governor of CBN – Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a new order that introduces a new flat fee of ₦6.98 for consumers who use the USSD transactions, effective Tuesday, March 16.

On March 15, telecommunications operators were expected to begin removing the Unstructured USSD short code service that banks and other financial service providers rely on to support the banking sector.

In a joint statement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), CBN said the new fee was part of an agreement reached when banks and telecommunications operators met on Monday to discuss the ₦42 billion debt owed to mobile operators by commercial banks.

It stated:

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions.

This resulted in the accumulation of outstanding fees for USSD services rendered leading to potential service withdrawal by the MNOs.

We are pleased to announce that after comprehensive deliberations on the key issues, a resolution framework acceptable to all parties was agreed thus:

Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction.

This replaces the current per session billing structure ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion.

This approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.

Read the official statement below:

This comes as Nigeria’s unemployment rate increases to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, from 27.1 per cent currently. The number is 6.1 per cent higher than the 27.1 per cent reported in the second quarter of last year, according to a study published on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Unsatisfied with this, Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure with this new development.

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