The Federal Government has directed telecommunication companies to suspend the planned withdrawal of banks’ Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services.

This is coming after Telecom operators decided to suspend USSD services over a N42 billion debt owed by banks with effect from Monday, March 15, 2021.

This directive is contained in a press statement titled, ‘Impending Suspension of USSD Banking Services Put on Hold’, which was signed by the Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Femi Adeluyi, on Saturday, March 13, 2021.

The statement says that the Minister is intervening to ensure an amicable resolution of the dispute, adding that he has called for a meeting of all stakeholders.

The statement partly reads, ‘’The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has directed that the impending suspension of the USSD services by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) be put on hold.

‘’The suspension which was to take effect on Monday, 15th of March, was due to the lingering debt owed MNOs by commercial banks for the provision of USSD banking services.’

“In a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the impasse, Dr Pantami has called for a meeting of all stakeholders, including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission), the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators), and the financial institutions.

“The meeting is scheduled to hold on Monday, 15th of March, 2021. The outcome of the meeting will determine the next step regarding the status of the USSD financial services.