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N120b USSD debt slowing financial inclusion, says NCC

THE Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said the banks’ N120bn Unstructured Supplementary Service Data debt owed to telecommunication firms is slowing down financial inclusion.

He noted that without the service, digital financial inclusion, which he pegged at 60 to 70 per cent, in the country would not be where it is currently.

He said, “The merit of the service is that without it, there will be no digital financial inclusion and the penetration would be nowhere where it is now. The digital financial inclusion index or penetration is currently about 70 per cent because it is telco-driven. And as such, there shouldn’t be any problem paying for the service.

“No service is free. Pay the telcos, that is all we ask. Okay, and as we are saying now, pay them for the debt, the accumulated debt, and then pay them for the service they are rendering as we speak.”

Danbatta revealed this at the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria’s Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, banks had finally agreed to pay for the service, following sustained intervention from the NCC and the acting Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Folashodun Shonubi.

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