March 27, 2023

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$743m blocked fund repatriation, an exclusive preserve of CBN- Hadi Sirika

3 min read

L-R: Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation; Dr. Samson Fatokun, Area Manager, West, and Central Africa, IATA, at a meeting with reps of foreign airlines, AFARN, NANTA, and the aviation ministry.

… If the resolution of the much-touted $743m blocked ticket sales proceeds of the international airlines were in the purview of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the hullabaloo about its continued retention with the nation’s bankers’ bank would have long been put paid to.

Sen Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation so hinted while hosting representatives of the International Air Transport Association, IATA, the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents, NANTA, and the Association of Foreign Airlines Representatives in Nigeria, AFARN.

The Minister reiterated the federal government’s commitment to the letters and the spirit of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA, and added that the ministry had left no stone unturned in its effort to ensure prompt disbursement of the funds without any further delay.

L-R: Dr. Samson Fatokun, Area Manager, IATA, presented IATA’s Corporate profile to Sen Hadi Sirika,

Sirika stated further that the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and it is not what the ministry can handle alone else, it would have been resolved a very long time ago.

He urged International Airline Operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issue bearing in mind the effects of Covid-19 and the recession the country had experienced.

Speaking earlier, Dr. Samson Fatokun, area Manager, of West and Central Africa who led the delegation expressed gratitude to the Minister for his continuous support for the growth of air transport in Nigeria and for the actualization of his role as a catalyst for the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Fatokun said the global airline community would like to appeal to the Minister for special intervention in resolving a total of $743m USD in airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.

L-R: 1&2; Representatives of Foreign airliners, 3rd, Dr. Samson Fatokun, rep IATA, Dr. Emmanel Maribole, Permanent Secretary, Fed Min of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister, Susan Akporiaye, President NANTA. back row with cap, Capt Musa Nuhu, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

He intimated to the Minister that, the airlines are contending with various forms of collateral damages while the average Nigerian traveler had been compelled to bear the brunt of the inadvertent withholding of the airlines’ forex.

Susan Akporiaye, President of NANTA lamented that her members were presently experiencing “a very difficult time… as some of us are already giving up on the industry and going into other business”, she said.

Akporiaye continued in painting the gloomy picture of the operators in the downstream sector of aviation thus, “it is our loss and also the loss of the country as we don’t sell more tickets like we used to, and this will further increase the unemployment situation if this issue is not attended to,’’ she warned.

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