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Senate urges CBN to release $717.4m trapped airlines funds

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Senate urges CBN to release $717.4m trapped airlines funds

The Senate, on Wednesday, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release 717, 478, 606 dollars airlines funds trapped in the country.

The upper chamber also called on the CBN to allocate 25 million dollars to airlines operating in Nigeria at its forth-nightly dollar auction.

These resolutions were reached sequel to the consideration of a motion titled: “Current Issues on airlines blocked funds in Nigeria” sponsored by Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti) on Wednesday at plenary.

Olujimi chairs the Senate Committee on Aviation.

Vice Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Bala Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi ) presented the motion on behalf of Olujimi.

The upper chamber also called on the Federal Government to urgently reverse the current trend of increasing airlines blocked funds in Nigeria.

It called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the CBN Governor,Mr Godwin Emefiele to pay up the blocked funds to the affected airlines.

The upper chamber further appealed to the airlines operating in the country not to withdraw their services while efforts were on-going to resolve the issue.

Moving the motion, Na’Allah said that since Jan. 2021, Nigeria had been the most challenged country in the world for the airlines to repatriate their funds to support their operation.

Read Also: NEMA receives another batch of 143 repatriated Nigerians from…

In Feb. Nigeria alone accounted for 44 per cent of total airlines blocked funds in the entire world.

The total airlines blocked funds in Nigeria as at March amounted to 717,478,606, dollars comprising matured bids that the CBN was yet to deliver, bids yet to mature and cash balances in airlines’ accounts for repatriation.

The matured bids not delivered by CBN amounted to 186.5 million dollars accounting for 26 per cent of total blocked funds while three stakeholders (IATA, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines) accounted for 57 per cent of total blocked funds.

A review of airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria in the last six months shows an average month-on-month increase of 49.3million dollars.

The consequences of these blocked funds are: Cheap tickets are not available in Nigeria because taxes and inflation will have eroded the profit when the funds are kept for a very long time.

This makes tickets very expensive and limited because neighbouring countries get the cheap tickets because of prompt payments due to prompt repatriation of funds.

Senators in their contributions supported the motion and voted to approve the prayers when
they were put to voice vote by Senate President Ahmed Lawan

Senate urges CBN to release $717.4m trapped airlines funds

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