By Ovie Okpare
The Federal Government on Sunday directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to prevail on telecommunication companies in the country to suspend the proposed implementation of charges on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data access to banking services from Oct. 21.
Mobile operators including MTN had on Sunday afternoon through SMS messages informed their subscribers on the charges, adding that the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from Monday October 21.
However, the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, claimed the federal government was not aware of the development, saying that the proposed plan should be suspended until he was “fully and properly briefed.”
In a statement on Sunday signed by the spokesperson to the minister of communications, Mrs Uwa Sulieman, directed NCC to ensure that the plan was put on hold till further notice.
The statement read, “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to a viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator, MTN Nigeria and other mobile operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21th October 2019.
“The office of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.”