Nigeria: CBN Okays $120m Over Trapped Foreign Airlines funds

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele said the bank will release $120 million to settle outstanding trapped funds of International Airlines operating in the country.

Emefiele disclosed this during a meeting between the leadership of the House of Representatives, the International Air Transportation Association, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The CBN governor disclosed that the bank had in August resolved to release $265 million to the airlines; $110 million on the spot and the rest in 60 days. He added that the remaining money will be released on October 31.

He accused some countries like the United Arab Emirates of threatening Nigeria with a visa ban, and suspension of flight operations.

“We used our discretion to allocate $265 million to the foreign airlines, broken down into spot and forward. We did $110 million on the spot and the rest in 60 days forward.

“On that day, we allocated to IATA; $32 million through UBA. Qatar Airways; $22.8 million through Standard Chartered, Emirates; $19.6 million through Access Bank, British Airway; $5.5 million through GTB, Virgin Atlantic; $4.8 million through Zenith and others.

“How then can they go about and begin to say that they have not received money? This is an extra allocation. This is something I have told you (foreign airlines) that we will continue to do so that you will not blackmail the country. $120 million will be due on the 31 of October,” he said.

The representative of IATA, Samson Fatokun, while reacting to the statement by the CBN governor, said despite the intervention by the CBN, there is still $700 million trapped in Nigeria.

“What we have right now is $700 million. Our balance is $700 million. The airlines are reasonable by saying that give us a plan for repatriation,” he said.

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