The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Friday that it has given $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle trapped funds pending from ticket sales.
In a statement issued by the bank’s corporate communications director, Osita Nwanisobi, said CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the inability of airlines to repatriate their funds from Nigeria and what it bodes for the sector. and travelers too. as the country in the community 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 the SMIS retail auction,” the statement read in part.
Nwanisobi said the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country and what CBN wanted was an orderly outflow of funds for those who might be interested in doing so.
“With Friday’s launch, operators and travelers alike are expected to breathe a huge sigh of relief, as some airlines have threatened to withdraw services in the face of unremitted funds from outstanding ticket sales,” it added.
CBN’s move came after Emirate Airlines threatened to halt operations to and from Nigeria by September 1 due to its inability to repatriate $85 million stuck in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s currency crisis has affected the aviation sector, at a time when domestic and international airlines are also facing a sharp increase in aviation fuel.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world’s leading airline trade association, criticized Nigeria’s failure to allow international airlines to repatriate their profits and warned it could cause more harm to the country.
According to IATA, the amount that airlines have been unable to repatriate from the country rose to $464 million (N199.2 billion) in July.