CBN allocates $265m to airlines to repatriate trapped funds

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allocated the sum of $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales monies.

A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as special forex (FX) intervention, while another sum of $35 million was released through the retail secondary market intervention sales (SMIS) auction.

This was confirmed by the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, who said the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team were concerned about the development and what it portended for the sector and travellers, as well as for the country in the comity of nations.

Saying the apex bank was not against any firm repatriating its funds from the country, Nwanisobi stressed that it actually encouraged an “orderly exit” for those interested in doing so.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently slammed the Nigerian government over its failure in helping Emirates Airlines get its funds out of Nigeria.

Emirates had on August 18, 2022, announced a stoppage of all its flights from Nigeria with effect from September 1, 2022, due to challenges it said it was experiencing in repatriating its funds.

In a statement the airline forwarded to The ICIR, it said no progress had been made in getting its funds out of Nigeria, hence the decision.



    According to the airline, it had unsuccessfully been attempting to repatriate the sum of $85 million of ticket sales it alleged was stuck in Nigeria.

    Earlier today, British Airways was also on the verge of suspending flight operations in Nigeria following what it said was its difficulty in repatriating trapped funds from Nigeria.

    The development was widely publicised in a secret memo with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), where the airline disclosed that it was closing inventory on its Nigeria business, meaning that it would not be selling new tickets going forward until the airlines’ problem with regards to trapped funds was resolved.

    The airline, however, later rescinded its decision, saying it would continue to operate its flights as scheduled.

    Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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