Reps appeal as foreign airlines’ trapped funds rise to $550m

Nnolim Nnaji, the House of Representatives committee chairman on Aviation, has appealed to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to prevail on its member airlines to show understanding as the various organs of government were making efforts to ensure that their ticket proceeds are duly remitted.

This is just as the members said that $550 million out of $1.1 billion blocked in Africa and the Middle East is held in Nigeria.

Nnaji made the appeal while playing host to Kamil Ala, the IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East, Wadhi who paid him a courtesy call in his office on Tuesday.

The committee Chairman reminded his guest that the prevailing situation was in consonance with the global economic meltdown assuring him that the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) had put in place a mechanism for the liquidation of the blocked funds.

He also told the IATA Vice President that the Federal Government has made tremendous investments in the aviation sector to improve security and safety of air transportation in the country.

Nnaji also praised the association for its contributions to the safety of air travel through its operational safety programmes, (IOSA) which a number of Nigerian Airlines have benefited from.

Earlier in his speech, Ala Wadhi had acknowledged the interest shown by the Speaker of the House of the House of Representatives and its Committee on Aviation Honourable Nnolim Nnaji towards finding solutions to the member airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.

He disclosed that within his regions, “a total of $1.1billion airlines’ funds are blocked and half of these funds $550 million are held in Nigeria. I do appreciate your interventions and l urge you to continue to do more so that it can be quickly resolved”.

Read also: Nigeria top countries with highest foreign airlines’ trapped funds –IATA

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives Leadership had at the heat of the crisis intervened by bringing, Hadi Sirika, the minister of Aviation, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor and IATA representative including some of the affected foreign airlines to discuss the way forward.

The intervention led to the phased remittances deployed by the CBN to gradually liquidate the backlog of the trapped funds.