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Foreign airlines repatriate N795bn in six months – CBN report

todayJanuary 19, 2024 32

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Foreign airlines repatriated N795.48bn from Nigeria in six months, data from the Central Bank of Nigeria have shown.

Data from the apex bank’s Balance of Payment compilation revealed that airlines withdrew (as debits) $1.76bn (converted to naira at N451/$) in the first and second quarters of 2023. Total credit to the Balance of Payment account from airline travel was $19.39m (N8.75bn).

The amount on the debit side of the balance of payments includes how much was spent on tickets by passengers (N779.61bn), cargo ($10.22bn), and others (N5.65bn).

According to an explanatory note on the apex bank’s website titled, Note D, Balance of Payments is “defined as a systematic record of economic and financial transactions for a given period between residents of an economy and non-residents.”

The National Bureau of Statistics would in a document titled ‘International Trade and Balance of Payments Statistics’ added, “In other words, it is a record of all the receipts and payments in respect of merchandise trade, invisible (service) trade, transfer payments, short-term and long-term capital movements and movement of international reserves between the reporting country and other countries.”

Despite this, foreign airlines have complained consistently about their inability to repatriate all their funds. As of November 2023, these airlines disclosed that about 90 per cent of their $783m trapped funds have not been paid.

The Chairman of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives, Mr Kingsley Nweokoma, stated this during a stakeholders’ forum with the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.

He said, “The bulk of the blocked funds are with Nigerian commercial banks. The bulk of the money has not been paid.”

In December 2023, the International Air Transport Association disclosed that $790m ticket revenue is currently trapped in the country. According to the IATA Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi, Nigeria has the highest number of airlines’ blocked funds at $792m followed by Egypt ($348m); Algeria ($199m); AFI zone ($183m) and Ethiopia $128m.

Written by: EaglesFM

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