Mobile telecommunications operator, MTN Nigeria, has suspended its Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the development was not unconnected to the N42bn debt owed telecom operators by banks.
MTN said customers using the USSD services will not be able to recharge airtime on their phones.
The telecommunication operator stated this in a text message sent out to customers on Friday.
The message received by our correspondent reads: “Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you.”
LEADERSHIP also observe that money transfer through the service has been made impossible with the development as MTN service users complain of their inability to access funds amid the Easter holidays.
MTN Working To Drive Nigerian SMEs Out Of Business – Expert
Meanwhile a tax consultant, Cletus Okoye, has reacted to the recent development saying MTN is working to drive Nigerian SMEs who sell data and airtime out of business.
He said, “The South African behemoth, which is said to have illicitly repatriated nearly $10 billion from Nigeria, has compelled SMEs who aggregate data and airtime sales to push only MTN platforms while at the same time cutting down commissions on sales.
” Knowing that such an action would bring undue inconvenience to millions of Nigerian, MTN told the hapless partners to “pacify Customers and educate them to use MTNToplt, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App.”
According to Okoye, “MTN, like most South African companies operating in the country, has always seen Nigeria as just a cash cow. Not only has it long sought to monopolize the Telco space, it nearly paralysed Nigeria’s nascent renewable energy sector.
“Even South Africans don’t seem to trust MTN; for example, at the end of 2019, MTN’s revenue grew by 12.6% in Nigeria and 22.9% in Ghana, but in South Africa, revenue only grew by 0.4%.
He further said, “Telcos like MTN take advantage of their massive size to keep the price of data high so that they can keep extracting money from unsuspecting citizens and a hapless country, all the while repatriating all the money to South Africa and not paying their fair share in taxes.
“It is yet to be known if for once, the Nigerian government and even big private institutions will stand up and stay strong to this drowning of Nigerian SMEs and daylight robbery of the country, he added.