According to reports, the International Air Transport Association has expressed concern over the Federal government’s decision to obstruct foreign airlines from returning ticket sales revenue amounting to $450(N188.6bn) to their respective countries.
The association is based in Geneva with over 200 international members. Speaking at the 78th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha Qatar on Sunday, the regional president of Africa and the middle east, Kamil Al-Alawadhi stated the Federal Government’s conclusion was inefficient.
Foreign airline blocked funds in Nigeria are calculated at $208m in the third quarter of 2021 had risen to $283m in the first quarter of this year.
Alawadhi revealed to journalists the necessity of CBN to grant foreign access to repatriate their ticket sale revenue as aviation was key to Nigeria’s economic development.
He further stated aviation department is responsible for thousands of job creations, and as such, it is bad for the government to withhold carriers’ opportunity to repatriate their revenue.
In addition, Al-Awadhi revealed IATA officials will visit the country promptly over the development. According to him, Nigeria needs to start reducing the backlog.
“Nigeria needs to start reducing the backlog. The Central Bank of Nigeria was not forthcoming on the blocked funds. Sadly, Nigeria owes the bulk of the entire blocked funds. This is very unacceptable”.
“We heard that there is a shortage of dollars. It has been a hectic ride. We met with the Vice-President. We will keep checking. This is going to damage the image of the country. We are hoping that it will go down well. The figure is huge”. He said.
Also, the consequence is taking place at a time carriers are coming out of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted carriers globally. He stated the circumstance had compelled airlines to get funds from their reserves to support operations.