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Pantami Wades into Nigerian Banks, MTN Dispute Over USSD



Minister Wades into Nigerian Banks MTN Dispute Over USSD, SiliconNigeria

The Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has waded into the ongoing dispute between Nigerian deposit money banks and MTN Nigeria, over percentage commission due Value Added Service (VAS) aggregators for Unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) transaction conducted on MTN’s network.

In a tweet on his official Twitter handle, the minister stated that “On the fallout between @MTNNG and some banks on USSD services today, I engaged with both regulators, the Governor of @cenbank and EVC @NgComCommission. We have reached an advance stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!”

Earlier today, SiliconNigeria had reported that Nigerian banks restricted transactions on USSD channels with Nigeria’s biggest mobile network operator, MTN over a dispute on vending commission rate.

The restriction which took effect today as a result of the reduction of commission accruable to telecommunication Value Added Services (VAS) aggregators and banks from 3.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent by MTN.

The aggregators alleged that had on March 31 informed them about a reduction in the commission earned by them which took effect yesterday, April 1, 2021. Both the aggregators and the banks were uncomfortable with the new rate and the banks decided to restrict USSD channel transactions with MTN Nigeria to show their annoyance.

This new dimension is a dent on the recent resolution by both the telecommunications and banking industry regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the USSD dispute which has lingered since 2019.

Last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) unveiled a new pricing model for USSD short code services for transacting mobile banking services, putting behind the two industry operators, the disagreement over a pricing model and modality for offsetting a debt of N42 billion owed the telecom operators by the banks.

It was resolved the regulators that effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs and all CBN – licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98k per transaction per transaction., replacing the disputed Session Billing method.

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Technology Companies Join Forces to Fight Cyber Fraud



Technology Companies Join Forces to Fight Cyber Fraud, SiliconNigeria

European technology companies Evina and Telecoming have signed a global alliance to work hand in hand in promoting Direct carrier billing (DCB), seen as the safest and most appropriate payment method in the new mobile economy and, in particular, for the fight against fraud.

Direct carrier billing is the safest and most suitable payment technology for the new mobile economy; The two companies announced the launch of DCB Index to measure industry maturity in different regions.

The agreement deals a body blow to the mobile fraud that cost the African continent over USD 4 billion last year. DCB is the most suitable payment technology for millions of unbanked Africans who appreciate its unparalleled reach and convenience.

The agreement between Evina and Telecoming; both with operations in 15 African, Middle Eastern and European countries; now makes mobile-based transacting even safer.

Telecoming is the leading expert in DCB since 2008 and Evina is the reference in the fight against digital fraud. With this alliance, both organizations combine their expertise to develop the industry and boost mobile payment security.

Roberto Monge, COO of Telecoming, states “Direct carrier billing has been growing in the new digital economy. It is a technology with enormous potential that benefits all players in the mobile environment. With this alliance, we want to place DCB at the forefront of the payments industry and reinforce our commitment to the development of a transparent, secure and stable mobile economy”.

David Lotfi, Evina’s CEO: “The potential of DCB is widely underestimated by mobile operators and other market players. This is mainly due to the fact that DCB is currently adversely affected by fraud. By protecting the mobile payment ecosystem, we aim to sustain DCB’s growth and help all players flourish in this ecosystem.”

The alliance aims to educate on the vast potential of direct carrier billing through the DCBMaster service that allows users to measure their exposure to fraud, as well as their market and regulations knowledge.

The alliance will also enable the launch of the first global DCB indicator. This DCB Index will measure the maturity of the DCB market in different regions, based on the analysis of four indicators: Fraud protection, Innovation, Penetration in the Digital Industry and Growth Potential. 

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Appoints Tomisin Fashina as Group Executive, Operations & Technology



Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Appoints Tomisin Fashina as Group Executive Operations & Technology, SiliconNigeria

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group, announces that Tomisin Fashina has been appointed as its new Group Executive for Operations & Technology, a position he will now hold in addition to his existing role of Managing Director of eProcess International.

Ade Ayeyemi, CEO Ecobank Group said: “The rapidly accelerating digital adoption by Africa’s citizenry and businesses, together with the explosion in ecommerce across the continent, is driving transformation throughout the banking and payment sectors. Winning across operations and technology is essential for the Ecobank Group’s short, medium and long-term success, and is an integral requirement of our ongoing determination to continue to meet the evolving expectations of our customers. Tomisin is well experienced to ensure this, and his new role provides him with an overarching view of our operations and technology functions.”

Tomisin has over 30 years of experience, predominantly in technology management and financial services. Before joining the Ecobank Group, Tomisin was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Steward Bank Harare Zimbabwe. He has also been Chief Executive Officer for Yookos, a social media company, and has held several positions at Barclays Bank, including General Manager & Head, Transactional Banking Products, and Channels Management and Director, Cash Management & Payments. Prior to this, at Citigroup South Africa, he held leadership roles in its Global Transaction Services as Division Head & Director, Client Delivery, sub-Saharan Africa; and Division Head, Electronic Banking & Implementation, sub-Saharan Africa.

Tomisin has a BSc degree in Computer Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Lagos and a PhD in Business Management in Leadership from Capella University, Minnesota, USA.

Dr.  Fashina succeeds Eddy Ogbogu as Group Executive, Operations & Technology, following Eddy’s recent retirement after serving the Group for 11 years.

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MTN Nigeria And Banks Drag Over New USSD Commission



MTN Nigeria And Banks Drag Over New USSD Commission, SiliconNigeria
  • Offers Subscribers Fintech Channels

The talks to resolve the dispute over commission for airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) by MTN Nigeria and its banking partners is yet to be resolved.

 The two parties continued their meeting today but the grey areas were yet to be fully resolved even as the telecom operators apologized to its customers over the restriction suffered during the Easter holidays.

 In an update on banking channel partners’ dispute and expansion of channel network issued this afternoon, MTN said following the temporary suspension of sales of MTN products through its banking channel partners on April 2, 2021, services were restored on Sunday, April 4, 2021 with customers able to access all services.

It said this was agreed on the basis that MTN would revert to its previous cost of sales structures with banking partners, until a new long-term agreement can be reached on a sustainable pricing structure going forward.

“Consequent on the intervention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria, since April 6, 2021, MTN has been participating in a series of meetings to align on longer term pricing structures. We will provide a further market update once these discussions have been concluded.

“The streamlining MTN undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels. We are confident that partners in the banking sector will work with us to ensure this process concludes as quickly as possible to the benefit of the entire industry.

“MTN would like to thank our customers for their patience, and express our regret at the inconvenience imposed on them while banking channels were offline. In order to further expand the range of channels available to customers, MTN has activated a number of new channel partnerships with fintech partners and these will remain in place, significantly expanding the channels available to our customers and increasing our sales and distribution network.

“The new channel partners include Sparkle, Konga Pay, Barter By Flutter Wave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon, BillsnPay, MTN On Demand, MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#), myMTN Web and Momo agent *223#.

“We would also like to thank the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their rapid intervention and we look forward to a mutually acceptable solution that empowers all ecosystem participants,” concluded the statement.

The parties faced-off following MTN’s reduction of airtime vending commission via USSD from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which led the banks to restrict customers’ bank accounts on the platform. The old commission was restored two days later following MTN’s revert to the status quo of 2.5 per cent.

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