Trapped fund: Foreign airlines won’t suspend operations into Nigeria -IATA



Abiola Seun For releasing $265million of foreign airlines trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on Monday, said federal government has encouraged foreign airlines to continue servicing Nigeria.  IATA’s Regional Vice-President, Africa, and the Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi in a statement made available to journalists, said IATA welcomed the Nigerian Government’s release of $265m of airlines’ blocked funds, saying Nigerian government has encouraged foreign airlines by releasing $265million of the $464 million funds belonging to the foreign airlines trapped in the country.Nigeria is among countries in Africa that are keeping airlines’ funds.
Other countries keeping airlines’ funds are Zimbabwe ($100 million), Algeria ($96 million), Eritrea ($79 million), and Ethiopia ($75 million).But, last week, the CBN released the sum of $265 million out of the total $464 million trapped funds to the carriers, giving hope of foreign airlines continued operation in Nigeria.Alawahdi, however, said the international body would continue to engage the Nigerian government on the need to release the remaining trapped funds.“IATA welcomes the Nigerian Government’s release of $265m of airlines’ blocked funds.
“We will continue to engage with it on expediting the release of the remaining amount so that airlines can continue providing the connectivity Nigeria requires without disrupting and harming its economy and jobs,” Alawahdi said.He continued, “We encourage other countries, in Africa and elsewhere, that are blocking the repatriation of foreign airlines’ funds, to follow Nigeria’s example and release the money they are withholding.
” Without it, airlines cannot afford to serve those countries. This would be detrimental to the people and businesses that depend on the market connectivity those airlines provide.“IATA speaks and leads the industry on matters of common interest. While IATA cannot speak for individual airlines, we hope the release of blocked funds with assurances and safeguards to prevent a recurrence, will persuade affected carriers to continue serving Nigeria.”

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