Airlines’ $743.7m trapped funds: The buck stops with CBN – Sirika

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The minister of aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika has said that the issue of blocked funds belonging to foreign airlines is the direct responsible of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to handle.

The minister stated this when he met with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Foreign airline operators to discuss some salient issues affecting the organisation in the country.

According to a statement by the ministry’s deputy director of press and public affairs, Mr. Odutayo Oluseyi, the minister stated that the matter was not something the ministry could handle solely else it would have been resolved as early as possible.

While stating Nigeria’s commitment to the bilateral air services agreement, the minister however assured the association that the ministry would do its utmost to resolve the issue of blocked funds

He urged the global airlines’ organisation to be considerate when dealing with the issue bearing in mind the effects of Covid 19 and the recession the country had experienced.

Earlier in his remarks, IATA’s area manager for West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun who led the delegation, expressed gratitude to the minister for his continuous support for the growth of air transport in Nigeria and for the actualisation of its role as catalyst for the growth of the Nigerian economy.

He appealed to the minister for special intervention in resolving the trapped funds matter saying “the airlines are facing the collateral damage and the average Nigeria is bearing the brunt of this issue.”

Also speaking, the president of the National Association of Nigerian travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, said there is mutual loss in the blocked funds imbroglio.

“It is a very difficult time for us as some of us are already giving up on the industry and going into other business.

“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 said.

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