Home News Nigerian clears 98% of airlines’ trapped funds—IATA 

Nigerian clears 98% of airlines’ trapped funds—IATA 

by Business News Report

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has hailed the Nigerian government for clearing 98 per cent of airlines’ trapped funds, which the carriers had not been able to repatriate. IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said in a statement that 98 per cent amounted to $831 million, while the remaining two per cent amounted to $19 million. According to Mr Walsh, as of June 2023, Nigeria’s blocked funds amounted to $850 million, which significantly affected airline operations and finances in the country. “At its peak in June 2023, Nigeria’s blocked funds amounted to $850 million, significantly affecting airline operations and finances in the country,” said Mr Walsh. He said the airlines had difficulties repatriating revenues in U.S. dollars, and the huge amount resulted in a reduction in their operations. “We commend the new Nigerian government and the CBN for their efforts to resolve this issue.

“Individual Nigerians and the economy will all benefit from reliable air connectivity for which access to revenues is critical,” Mr Walsh said. The IATA boss, therefore, urged the government to clear the residual $19 million and continue prioritising aviation. Mr Walsh also said there was a 28 per cent decrease in airline funds blocked from repatriation by governments. According to him, the total blocked funds at the end of April stood at approximately $1.8 billion, a reduction of $708 million (28 per cent) since December 2023. “The reduction in blocked funds is a positive development. The remaining $1.8 billion, however, is significant and must be urgently addressed,” Mr Walsh said. He added that the main driver of the reduction was a significant clearance of funds blocked in Nigeria.

Mr Walsh said Egypt also approved clearance of its significant accumulation of blocked funds. He said, however, that airlines were adversely affected by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound and the Nigerian Naira in both cases. Eight countries accounted for 87 per cent of the total blocked funds, amounting to $1.6 billion. The countries are Pakistan, $411 million for 40 months; Bangladesh, $320 million for 40 months; Algeria, $286 million for 37 months; and the XAF Zone, $151 million for 50 months. Also, Ethiopia, $149 million for 58 months; Lebanon, $129 million for 52 months; Eritrea, $75 million for 116 months and Zimbabwe, $69 million for 84 months. IATA urged governments to remove all barriers to airlines repatriating their revenues from ticket sales and other activities in accordance with international agreements and treaty obligations. (NAN)

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