Nigeria’s central bank releases $265 million to settle foreign airlines, others

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said it has released $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding-trapped funds from ticket sales.

In a statement issued by the bank’s corporate communications director, Osita Nwanisobi, it said the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team were concerned about the inability of airlines to repatriate their funds from Nigeria and what it portends for the sector and travellers as well as the country in the comity of nations.

“A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as a special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through Retail SMIS auction,” the statement partly read.

Mr Nwanisobi said the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country and that what the CBN wanted was an orderly exit of funds for those that might be interested in doing so.

“With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travellers as well will heave huge sigh of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for the outstanding sale of tickets,” he added.

The move by the CBN came after Emirate Airlines threatened to halt its operations to and from Nigeria by September 1, due to its inability to repatriate $85 million trapped in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s forex crisis has impacted the aviation sector, at a time domestic and international airlines are also facing a sharp increase in aviation fuel.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the top global trade association of airlines, criticised Nigeria’s failure to allow international airlines to repatriate their profits, warning it may cause the country more damage.

According to IATA, the amount airlines have been unable to repatriate from the country rose to$464 million (N199.2 billion) in July.

Source: Premium Times -Nigeria

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