Nigeria’s Apex Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says it has concluded the payment of all verified foreign exchange (FX) claims by airlines with an additional $64.44 million to the concerned foreign aviation firms.
This was disclosed by Hakama Sidi-Ali, CBN’s acting director of corporate communications, disclosed this on Tuesday.
The amount however paid by the apex bank excludes the current accumulations of funds which are domiciled in the commercial banks.
Foreign airlines’ revenue blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government increased to $743 million from $662 million in January 2023 according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to thecable.ng, Sidi-Ali said the latest amount paid to the airlines brought the total verified sum disbursed to the sector to $136.73 million, stressing that all the verified airline claims have now been cleared.
According to Sidi-Ali, Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN governor, and his team are committed and would stop at nothing to ensure that the verified backlog of payments across all other sectors are cleared and confidence restored in the Nigerian FX market.
She also assured that the CBN is working with stakeholders to ensure liquidity improves within the forex market, thereby reducing pressure on the naira — Nigeria’s local currency.
While expressing optimism that the market would respond positively with the latest injection of over $64 million, she admonished actors in the FX market to guard against speculation as such actions could hurt the naira.
Siri-Ali, therefore, urged the public to support the reforms in the FX market, adding that the CBN would continue to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all participants in the to ensure market forces determine exchange rates.
Foreign airlines have struggled to repatriate their revenues since July 2022 when the total amount hit $464 million.
In attempts to recover the funds, Emirates Airlines suspended flight operations to Nigeria in November 2022.
British Airways (BA) also closed its inventory to Nigeria in the global distribution system (GDS) — an act that prevented local travel agencies from making bookings from their portals.
Following several meetings by the authorities aimed at addressing the impasse, the CBN released the sum of $265 million to foreign airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales.