The federal government has intervened to resolve the fall out between Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) and some commercial banks in Nigeria.
DAILY GIST gathered that some Nigerian banks disconnected the network service providers from banking channels including the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and banking apps.
Customers were also unable to do banking transactions on MTN lines through USSD.
Consequently, MTN appealed to their customers to recharge their lines using the traditional paper recharge cards, a check by DAILY GIST confirmed.
Although banks have not given any formal communication prior to the disconnection, a source from MTN however alleged that the telecom reduced banks commission from an average of 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which predicated the actions of the banks.
The source said; ”Please note that MTN didn’t cut off customers and has no hand in this. This is strictly the banks acting on their own.
“We woke up this morning to see that MTN customers were cut off from USSD services overnight. This has come as a surprise as there was no formal communication from the banks to their customers prior to their taking this action.”
The source said, “The banks wrote back to the aggregators to revert back to the old commission, otherwise, they would block MTN airtime in all their channels.
“The channels were blocked midnight leaving our customers stranded. Interesting that the bank Managing Directors met and quickly took a decision. Subscribers to telecommunications are being denied services by the banks even when they have money in their accounts.”
He noted that Zenith bank, which was connected directly to MTN and had their earnings at 2.70 per cent, was the only bank that had not blocked the telco.
However, banks on MOD that had an uplift in their commission from 2.0 per cent to 2.75 per cent have blocked services, according to him. Banks with direct connection to the telco through MOD got a commission uplift.
According to the source, the banks were unwilling to pay the cost of the USSD channel and were okay with cutting off subscribers in order to protect their profits.
He added, “This only has to do with preservation of bank profits, which are already substantial and growing despite the wider economic conditions
“The government needs to step in and deal with this once and for all. Nigerian banks need to stop their tyrannical posture.
Reports also alleged that the development was not unconnected to the N42bn debt owed mobile operators by banks.
However, Dr Pantami in a statement released in the late hours of Friday revealed that the federal government has intervened into the fall out between MTN and the commercial Banks.
He assured Nigerians that the services will be restored soon as both parties have reached an agreement.
He wrote, “On the fallout between @MTNNG and some banks on USSD services today, I engaged with both regulators, the Governor of @cenbank and EVC @NgComCommission.
“We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!”
See the tweet below:
On the fallout between @MTNNG and some banks on USSD services today, I engaged with both regulators, the Governor of @cenbank and EVC @NgComCommission. We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!
— Isa Ali Pantami, PhD (@DrIsaPantami) April 2, 2021