The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released the sum of $265 million out of a total $464 million trapped funds belonging to the foreign airlines.
The funds were allegedly trapped due to a Forex shortage.
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 Retail SMIS auction.
The Director, Corporate Communications, Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi confirmed the release.
He said that the Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.
Nwanisobi restated that the Apex bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country
He added that what the CBN stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.
This latest development will no doubt bring relief to airline operators.
The good news is coming just as some foreign airlines had threatened to withdraw their services following the inability to remit their funds for the outstanding sale of tickets to their respective countries
The inability of the foreign airlines to remit their funds back home had prompted the House of Representatives to summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Ministers of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to a stakeholders meeting.
The meeting was to see how best to resolve the face-off between the Federal Government and some foreign airlines.
At the peak of the crisis, Emirates disclosed that it would stop flights operations to Nigeria on September 1, 2022.
The reason for the planned withdrawal of operations, the airline said is the refusal of the Federal Government to allow it remit $85, which is part of the over $450 million airlines’ funds still withheld by the Federal Government.
Recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji, Lai Mohammed had stated at the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA), Lagos, while speaking with reporters that the Federal Government was working on resolving the issues of airlines trapped funds.
Other countries in Africa that are holding to foreign airlines revenues as at June 2022, are: Algeria – $96 million, Eritrea – $79 million, Ethiopia, $75 million and Zimbabwe $100 million.