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Banks in Nigeria
Banking/Investments ICT

N120bn USSD Debts by Banks rubbishing their financial statements—Analysis

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Whereas many Nigerian Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have been posting Q1-23 financials announcing massive PBT and in some cases, PAT, unfortunately, all their postings were without recourse to the humongous N120bn debt they have piled up from usage of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

Otherwise, the big USSD debts owed telecom companies by Nigerian banks tend to contradict mouthwatering profits they released in their latest financial statements.

Analysts say in saner climes where regulatory functions are followed to the letter, some of these banks ought to have been questioned for non-disclosures related financial crimes after all.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, has disclosed the readiness of his body to go for the jugular in getting back their money from banks.

According to him, as soon as the notice given to banks expires, the network providers will disconnect the banks from the USSD platforms provided by the telcos.

He said the action of the telecommunications companies was prompted by the banks’ refusal to pay the commission they owe the network providers.

Adebayo made it clear that “We are now commencing the implementation of the terms of the agreement by sending them notice which will expire after the notice depending on the agreement and once the service notice expires, we will begin to withdraw the service.

“I must say that some banks are paying. Unfortunately the ones that are not paying are the big banks debtors. I don’t want to mention their names. They are the big ones and that is why it has such a huge impact on the industry.

“So the smaller ones that are not owing much are paying; some were paying before, we don’t know what happened and they stopped paying, allowing the debts to pile up.”

ALTON boss decried that the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not compelled the bigger banks to pay their debt.

“We will begin to see the intervention when the DMBs start paying. We don’t know what intervention they are doing with the banking system but we will see the impact when we start seeing money being paid by the DMBs. So far, we have not seen anything,” Adebayo averred.

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