CBN Forex Policy: Aviation Union Begs FG To Grant Concession To Foreign Airlines

Minister of State,Aviation,Senator, Hadi Sirika

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has appealed to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation to grant international airlines operating in the country the concession to repatriate the monies made from ticket sales to their home countries.
NUATE’s appeal is coming on the heels of the feelers received by the unions that foreign airlines in the country are planning to lay off close to 2,000 of their staff to cut cost in view of the fact that they have not been able to transfer their earnings to their various countries as result of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Forex policy.
The appeal by the union is contained in a letter titled, “Save Our Souls And The Jobs Of Over 2,000 Aviation Workers” written to the Minister State, Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika and Signed by the Acting General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye.

Abioye stated in the letter that as a result of the policy international airlines have deviced several ways inimical to safety and security and which would also lower the services they render to their passengers.
Government, the letter said should intervene immediately before the situation gets out of hand

The letter reads, “As partners with the Federal Government through your good office, we support wholeheartedly the change mantra of the government and pledge our unalloyed allegiance towards its success but we hasten to place on the front burner, an emerging threat confronting over two thousand (2000) private sector aviation workers in Nigeria, which requires your intervention, to forestall imminent loss of jobs of these numbers of workers”.

It continued, “Information has just filtered into our ears that all is not well with the foreign airlines operating into Nigeria as it is planning massive reduction in the numbers of its employees, (over two thousand) in order to cut costs and shrink its operations. The reason been adduced for this “danger” is that their earnings in the past year is under lock with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as they are unable to transfer these earnings to their respective home countries to meet operational costs, in accordance with international rules”.

NUATE stated that following concerns raised recently by leaders of these workers and other stakeholders and in appreciation of the good intent of the government’s fiscal policy, the association humbly make this clarion call for the government intervention to grant foreign airlines concession to repatriate their proceeds to their home countries.

“The airlines are already devising ways and other tactics, inimical to safety and security, to gradual reduction of services/operations which may not be in the interest of the country and her people, if not quickly remedied, Sir. We thank you for the proactive actions you have taken so far in some other areas, while we look forward to visible response in this regard”. Part of the reads

To buttress its argument , the association quoted ,the Ant – Apartheid Crusader, Desmond Tutu, who said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”.
Aviation analysts are of the opinion that the Apex Bank Forex restriction policy has also made it difficult for international airlines to repatriate their earnings to their home base.
AbelNews recalled that on June 23, CBN released a circular titled, “Inclusion of Some Imported Goods and Services on the List of Items Not Valid for Foreign Exchange in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Markets,” and listed 41 items that can no longer be imported with foreign exchange sourced from the apex bank, deposit money banks, bureau de change and other authorised sources.

These items includes: rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, toothpicks, glass and glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, vitrified and ceramic tiles and textiles among other items.

The Apex bank added that they are not banned but that importers of these items can no longer access foreign exchange from the Bank and the industry it regulates.

The CBN cited as its reason the need to “encourage local production of these items”, adding that “implementation of the policy will help conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries and improve employment generation.”