IATA Body says $577 million holed up with CBN

Mr. Samson Fatokun, regional manager, South West Africa, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a press briefing at the ongoing two-day Aviation Day organised by the association

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Media reports reveal that funds belonging to foreign airlines trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hit $577 million as at March this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Mr. Samson Fatokun, regional manager, South West Africa, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a press briefing at the ongoing two-day Aviation Day organised by the association, saying that foreign airlines have been unable to repatriate the funds earned from the ticket sales in the country since October, 2015, according to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

According to Fatokun, this has caused crisis in the airline sub-sector as some of the airlines had threatened to suspend operations in the country while others are downsizing options.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria January 26, 2016. play Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the monthly Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria January 26, 2016. (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

 

READ: CBN adopts flexible exchange rate policy, retains interest rate at 12%

However, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek reports that a source close to one of the foreign carriers stated that the companies most affected by the Federal Government policy are Emirates, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM and Kenya Airways. The source also said the blocked fund was initially over $700 million, but that the Federal Government had in the past two months released some of the money to the affected airlines, the report revealed.

Fatokun further revealed that the $577 million trapped in Nigeria was the highest in the continent, but emphasized that Venezuela had the highest number of blocked funds in the world with the amount coming in at $3.5 billion.

The funds we are talking about does not belong to foreign airlines alone as it equally affects Nigerian carriers. As at today, Nigerian carriers are not able to assess dollars for procurement of spare parts and maintenance of their aircraft abroad among others.

However, Nigeria remains the highest in the continent with blocked funds. But, the government has assured us that the controversy surrounding the funds would be resolved very soon and we are believing them for that,” said Fatokun.

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