Following the payment of additional $64.44 million of verified claims owed to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria’s aviation sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the National Association Of Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA, has commended the apex bank for keeping to its commitment of paying outstanding blocked funds owed foreign carriers by the government.
The CBN on Tuesday, 30th January concluded the payment of all verified foreign exchange (FX) claims by airlines bringing the total verified sum disbursed to the sector to $136.73 million.
NANTA in a statement signed by the National President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, said with the payment made by the central bank to foreign airlines, the International Air Transport Association, IATA, should prevail on foreign airline operators to immediately release all lower inventories latest by Friday 2nd February 2024.
She added that anything short of a full release of inventory by all airlines, will be described as unexplainable, unreasonable, unjustifiable, and unsupportive actions of airlines in the Nigeria Market.
Akporiaye said in the body is concerned with the increasing Return on Equity (ROE) and the impact of skyrocketing tickets costs on the trade of its members.
She affirmed that failure to release the lower inventory by all airlines, the association would not hesitate to address a World Press Conference on the clandestine activities of the airlines.
She said: “About 3 months ago, when NANTA advocacy and media outings were high on the exorbitant fares by Airlines, IATA approached the Leadership of NANTA and asked us to please hold fire and engage a collaborative approach to urging Government/CBN to clear outstanding of trapped funds to Airlines. In the interest of our businesses and quick resolution we agreed. NANTA agreed and did a joint letter with IATA to CBN.
“CBN reached out to NANTA Leadership exactly one week ago, explaining the economy issues and urging NANTA to appeal to members for patience. At this point, the National President asked the CBN Deputy Governor to permit her to join IATA to the call. He agreed and IATA was joined.
“The CBN Deputy Governor then promised that all matured bids (backlogs outstanding to Airlines) would be cleared within 2 weeks, again urging NANTA to call for patience of members.
“Happily, CBN has kept to commitment made and cleared all queued payments (outstanding backlogs) to Airlines in one week as announced on Tuesday 30th January 2024; one week earlier than promised. We commend CBN for responding to NANTA’s plea.
“NANTA therefore holds a firm position that, with ROE at NGN 1, 421 and backlogs cleared by CBN, Airlines have no further reason and justification to restrict inventory in the Nigeria Market. We at NANTA view further restriction of lower inventory as excessive, profiteering, and unsupportive of the Nigerian Government/Market in the face of our Economic challenges.
“NANTA has made a request to IATA, to prevail on all Airlines operating in the Nigeria Market to release all lower inventories latest by Friday 2nd February 2024. Reminding IATA that NANTA was cooperative and collaborative when the request was made by IATA.
“Anything short of full release of inventory by all Airlines is now unexplainable, leading NANTA to view that there is more to the actions of Airlines in our market.
“The National President made NANTA’s position clear to IATA that if full inventories are not released by all Airlines by Friday 2nd February 2024, NANTA would address a World Press Conference next week, on the unexplainable, unreasonable, unjustifiable, and unsupportive actions of Airlines in the Nigeria Market.
“This Press Conference would be followed by sustained social media campaigns and open letters to Government and the Nigerian Travelling Public.
“Dear Members, we have been patient, please rest assured that leadership is focused on the issues and on the discomfort to our businesses. At this point, release of lower inventories it NOT negotiable, and that is where we would stand. We are optimistic that we would achieve this, and promise to give further updates“.