Story by Ibiyemi Mathew
Stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have commended Nigerian Com-munications Com-mission (NCC) directive to all telecommunication companies in the country to reduce Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to N4.89k per session.
The directive effective from September 1,2019 is expected to reduce USSD charges from N52.50k to N4.89k.
In a telephone conversation with Nigerian NewsDirect, President Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola commended the NCC for issuing the new directive.
According to him, the cost of transacting via USSD should in fact be reduced to a cost lower than that of SMS because it is a traditional method which has been in usage for a long period of time.
He said the new reduction is a good initiative as it would enable more individuals to be financially included.
Speaking further, he said far beyond the use of USSD, Fintech which many technologically advanced countries of the world are making use of a faster means to boosting financial inclusion in Nigeria.
He urged stakeholders in the industry to increase the adoption of financial technology.
Speaking from his own perspective, Director, VAS & Innovation, INLAKS, Mr. Oladimeji Koyejo said the directive is a welcome development and a huge boost to the promotion of financial inclusion within the Nigerian financial industry.
He added that for the implementation to be effective, stakeholders in the financial industry must be carried along to avoid wrong implementation.
According to him, “If this is done effectively, many of individuals want to transact more and engage in financial services and it will also boost the revenue of the country”.
The NCC in a statement added that the directive is coming to play because of the often high and arbitrary financial services offered by the network providers.
The regulatory commission further stated that it is getting involved in determining what consumers pay for USSD transactions because of the need to issue new guidelines for licensing finance and getting more Nigerians into the government’s financial inclusion plans rather than the usual practise that involves a negotiation between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and financial service providers.
According to the NCC, “the cost is modelled after an ‘efficient operator’ and not intended to be a direct reflection of the cost of any individual operator.
“It also said the new directive is hinged on the promotion of financial inclusion within the Nigerian financial landscape.”