Nigerian banks proposed to telecom companies to charge customers directly for USSD services, a memo seen by TheCable has revealed.
This seems to contradict the public denial by bank CEOs on Monday.
They said the decision “on whether, and what amount, to charge a customer for accessing USSD is entirely that of the telco company, in the same way a customer is billed for calls, SMS and data”.
In a letter to the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) by the Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers (BOBCEO) dated September 16, 2019, the bank MDs had proposed an “orderly implementation” of end-user billing for bank customers, “aligning with the standard practice for USSD billing.”
They said: “Customers using non-bank services already pay for USSD sessions.”
The letter was signed by 13 banks.
On Sunday, MTN sent this message to its customers: “Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.”
Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the minister of communications, immediately directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend the new charge.
In the memo to ALTON, the bank MDs had kicked against sharing the revenue from USSD transactions with the telcos.
GTBank, for instance, charges N50 plus VAT for instant transfers to other banks and N20 plus VAT for GTB-to-GTB transfers.
The telcos, who provide the platform for the USSD service, had proposed to take a cut of N4.50k per 20 seconds from the charges paid by customers to the banks.
However, the banks kicked against it, alleging that it would raise the cost by 450 per cent.
THE BANK CEOS’ LETTER IN FULL
Re: Anti-competitive practices on Reverse Corporate Billing for Bank USSD Services
We write with reference to instructions to our USSD aggregators, demanding Banks to subscribe to corporate-level billing for USSD services.
The demand forces us to a level where we will pay N4.5 per USSD session of 20 seconds, amounting for (to) around 450% increase in tariff.
Many transactions extend to two or three sessions. This is a cost that will destroy the financial inclusion strides made by banks where we have included almost 20m more citizens in the financial system by building services that run on USSD. Our partnership spirit and recognition of USSD as a critical national asset to drive financial inclusion has served all stakeholders well, especially those previously excluded Nigerians.
Beyond the huge cost-per-session, this would render the laudable financial inclusion initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria unsustainable which would impede development and economic growth. We will resist the move to reverse billing by multinational telecomms companies for the good of our National agenda.
Reverse billing gives no visibility to on actually sessions used forces to pay for failed sessions and leaves us exposed to spurious USSD usage that will increase costs.
We are proposing an orderly implementation end-user billing for bank customers, aligning with the standard practice for USSD billing.
Customers using non-bank services already pay for USSD sessions. It forces cost transparency between the Telecoms Company and customer, and will ensure the customer demands a reliable service that works when they need it at a price they can afford. In the Reverse Corporate Billing situation we are unable to attain competitiveness nor transparency.
We trust that on understanding our concern, and the perilous impact that your stated actions will have on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, you will implement end-user billing to ensure customers have a fair deal and a choice. Our relationship until this juncture has been a symbiotic one that benefits the millions of users of cost-effective banking solutions, the banks and the telecom companies for whom Bank channels have become one of the biggest sellers of airtime using the same USSD channels and other applications or integrations. If USSD services are used to ransom banks into exiting our financial inclusion goals, everybody will
Mr Eazi proposes to Temi Otedola!
For what seemed like a long while, celebrity power couple—Mr Eazi and Temi Otedola—are finally engaged as Oluwatosin Ajibade better known as Mr Eazi pops the heartwarming “Will you be my wife?” question to his girlfriend of 2 years Temiloluwa Otedola and she responded favourably in the affirmative “Yes” tone.
Fashion mogul and Icon Temi Otedola began dating artiste and music label CEO Mr Eazi in the year 2020 and have been living together ever since in their London apartment, sharing intimate moments, even meeting respective family members. This they’ve both shared in detail on their How Far? With Mr Eazi And Temi Otedola podcast.
Temi announced her engagement by posting the sea-side proposal of Mr Eazi on one knee asking the important question. The video goes by the simple caption of the infinity logo connoting they’re both locked in for life.
Congratulations to Temi Otedola and Mr Eazi!
Nicki Minaj agrees “Essence” should be song of the year at the Grammys
American superstar rapper, Nicki Minaj, shares the same sentiments as myriads of Wizkid fans and well-wishers worldwide, in that she concurs to the argument the trendsetting crossover record-breaking single from Wizkid’s 2020 released “Made In Lagos” album, Essence should be in the conversation for the coveted “Record of the Year” plaque at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Nicki Minaj agrees with Joe Budden that Essense should be Grammy Song Of The Year pic.twitter.com/hvdxQlItod
— King Henry 🥷🏾🛸 (@Kinghenryyyyyy) March 9, 2022
Although “Essence” did not receive the much desired nomination in the category for “Record of the Year” at the 2022 Grammy Awards, it did get a nod for Best Global Music Performance, the first of its kind.
Irrespective of the snub, Nicki whilie on Joe Budden TV (YouTube) as a guest on the special episode tagged A Conversation With Nicki Minaj & Joe Budden agreed with the host (Joe Budden) when he said “We need people on the Grammy board that know that “Essence” was song of the year” with an exclamatory “Right! Right!” response. She even proffered, “We should have our own Grammy Board“, in support of many and the popular believe that Black Americans or black artistes in general are always stereotyped to a particular category at the award show, if indeed they made it to the top categories, they barely win; Nicki Minaj does not have a Grammy Award herself and that is still a shock to many, especially when considering her refined catalogue of music.
Pheelz & Buju (BNXN) live the carefree lifestyle on “Finesse”
After much teasing, the anticipated Finesse by Pheelz and Buju (now BNXN) hit DSPs across the globe and just like the teaser gave off, Finesse is a banger! It is produced by young producer under Pheelz’s wing known as Miichkel.
On Finesse, Pheelz and Buju live their life to the fullest, the carefree lifestyle is what they desire and they are determined to stay on that track for the time being. “I’ve been living the fast life but I see it in slow mo / And you see my lifestyle, I got Gs in the turbo / . . . / Bad girl sey she want Netflix & Chill / So I ja ticket give her warning / If you fall in love, girls it’s certain / You go chop breakfast, I’m not capping“, Pheelz explains on the first verse, even saying love and relationship cannot stop him from living the ‘ballers’ lifestyle; “I’d be dammed if there’s anybody that could be like me / I be like Mo’ Salah, coming up the right wing / I cut through your defender, you no need to tell me / I must finesse / And you know sey me I must net“, Buju braggingly adds on the second verse, saying he can score any chick that catches his eye and dish her the next minute.
listen to the popular joyous chorus “Ah finesse / If I broke na my business / Ama shana e go bright o / Folake for the nighr o” here or on Apple Music.: