BusinessDay

Trapped funds: CBN releases $265m to airlines

In a bid to check a brewing crisis in the country’s aviation sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, August 26, 2022, released the sum of $265 million to airlines operating in the country, to settle outstanding ticket sales.

A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through Retail SMIS auction.

Confirming the release, Osita Nwanisobi, the director, corporate communications Department at the CBN, said the Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.
Read also: Airlines’ trapped funds deal doing business in Nigeria another blow

Nwanisobi retiterated that the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the Bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.

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

Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), expressed disappointment with Nigerian government for the continual withholding of foreign airlines’ revenues, which has prompted Emirates to stop flying to Nigeria’.

Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, had disclosed that the the fund has grew to $464 million in July, urging government to prioritize the release of the funds.

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