Nigerians who are Subscribed to the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD Transaction, have acted agitated following the sudden financial deductions introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
What is shocking about the entire incident is the discovery that the money doesn’t go directly to the coffers of the Federal Government’s but to the purse of our Network Service Providers.
Although the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC is not excused from those to receive backlash from Nigerian bank customers, haven partnered with CBN to propose new USSD charges all in the name of promoting ‘transparency’ and financial inclusions. (Exactly what transparency are they describing here, and how does it render financial inclusion?)
In a joint statement, both parties confirmed that our hard-earned money would be deducted and remitted to Mobile Network Operators, MNO, sole providers of the functionalities and platform for conducting mobile transfers.
The only compensation for this package is self-services that centres around data subscription, and call-credit purchases do not attract the N6.98 deductions from customers account.
While the compensation may sound suitable to a few people in society, others are reminiscing when monies placed in banks brought solid interests, regardless of the type of account package subscribed to by customers.
Today, if it does not include stamp duty charges, its deductions for text messages and mailing services provided by the bank. So many forms of payments currently exist that bank customers are overwhelmed and hardly recall what reasons the debits represent.
Meanwhile, that light at the end of the tunnel in this service charge nightmare is just tiny, I mean very dim, a satisfaction that may discourage people from patronizing USSD transactions and encourage them to deal directly with bank tellers in the nearest structure.
Another encouragement that may take away our concerns is that CBN and NCC said the USSD channel is optional. Still, customers may use Several alternative means such as mobile apps, internet banking, and ATMs for financial activities.
How Nigerians View the USSD Transaction Charges
Across various social media platforms, We gathered several views regarding how Nigerians feel about the USSD transaction charges.
- Chukwurah Paul said that the government’s decision to introduce the charges is Very Pathetic, to say the least; he added that the Central Bank of Nigeria is constantly devising avenues to put holes in the people’s pocket. “We Charged for depositing cash, charged for withdrawing, charged for an SMS alert, now a flat rate for USSD Transactions. We would soon be charged for breathing the air and receiving sunshine. This is the end of that form of business dealings for me. Period.”
- According to Isiaka Abiodun Oguntola, he requested to know what the charges being deducted previously for various bank transactions stands for at the moment? “Does it mean that banks alone are the ones that eat all those money? Please, we need a proper explanation from the concerned authorities.”
- Another respondent, Akinde Samson, said, “It’s just a pity that we have merciless administrators in nearly all the power corridors of Nigeria. You people are just adding to the burdens of the masses of Nigerians daily to enrich the few super-rich. Electricity tariff goes up monthly, with the notions that they will do something about the power supply? From the local government to the federal, its burden after burden, the network providers and the banks have now conspired to inflict more pains on us, still to enrich the super-rich. The Bible says whosoever afflict the poor shall cry without help coming to his ways. No problem, let the people and the government continue to do it their ways; God will soon hear the cries of our Hebrews in Egypt. And when it happens, both the Pharaoh and his chiefs will bear the pains and agony.
- Meanwhile, Benjamin J. complained of the time frame allowed by some banks to do a transfer. He noted that the period is so short and that if it doesn’t go through, they still charge you; and “some banks have had internet access problem, but they still charge regardless. CBN should look into that.”
- Peter Oboh asked, “How can we be paying borrowed money by the federal government through series of charges by CBN? The banking system in Nigeria is the worst, and they are just deducting our cash instead of giving us interest on our savings. This country is a scammer in every aspect.
Collectively, there haven’t been any Nigerian expressing positive views about the deductions. Considering the seriousness of this issue, some of the respondents had the same questions regarding the numerous bank charges already in existence and how the government would always have a reason to introduce a new tab without consulting the masses who are the primary customers of banking services.