Home Business Nigeria owes foreign airlines $818m – IATA

Nigeria owes foreign airlines $818m – IATA

by Business News Report

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Nigeria is owing foreign airlines $818.2 million held in the country due to scarcity of foreign exchange to repatriate proceeds of sale of air tickets. Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General, said this in a statement on Sunday and appealed to the federal government to come to the assistance of foreign airlines in Nigeria. He said Nigeria was holding the highest amount of the trapped funds globally and put the total trapped funds in the world at $2.27 billion as at April 2023. Walsh said the trapped fund in Nigeria was $700 million in March 2023, but had risen to $818.2 million within 30 days.

According to IATA, other countries owing such funds include Bangladesh with $214.1 million, Algeria with $196.3 million, Pakistan with $188.2 million and Lebanon with $141.2 million. Walsh said these top five countries accounted for 68 per cent of trapped funds globally. He said that globally, the trapped fund had risen from $1.55 billion in April 2022 to $2.27 billion in April 2023 Walsh called on the affected countries to abide by the international agreements reached with various governments on ticket sales repatriation. He said that the rapidly rising stock of the trapped funds was a threat to airline connectivity in the affected countries.

Walsh said foreign airlines could not continue to offer flight services in countries where they had found it difficult to repatriate their funds and called for quick action to address the situation.“Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets. Governments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation.”

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