CBN, Foreign Airlines Differ On $700m Trapped Fund

CBN, Foreign Airlines Differ On $700m Trapped Fund

3 months ago
1 min read

In a twist of narratives, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declared on Tuesday that it had settled all verified claims by foreign airlines, culminating in an additional payment of $64.44 million.

This pronouncement, made by the CBN Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs Hakama Sidi Ali, seemed to signal the end of a prolonged tussle over unpaid ticket revenue.

Expressing the apex bank’s commitment, Sidi Ali stated: “the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and his team were doubly committed and would stop at nothing to ensure that the verified backlog of payments across all other sectors was cleared.” The reassurance extended to addressing liquidity concerns within the forex market, aiming to alleviate pressure on the naira.

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), acknowledged the $64.44 million disbursement, asserting that the deadlock persisted with over $700 million still trapped in Nigeria. In a statement, IATA emphasized the necessity to recognize the remaining financial impasse, especially amid the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira against the dollar.

IATA’s statement released in Geneva read: “This development is encouraging, but it’s crucial to recognize that approximately $700 million remains blocked with Nigeria’s commercial banks. Airlines should not be unfairly penalized by the lower exchange rate.”

As the financial dispute unfolds, the naira’s continuous decline against the US dollar adds another layer of complexity. FMDQ Exchange data disclosed a record low of N1,482/dollar at the official market on Tuesday. Amid these developments, the CBN remains resolute, disclosing a release of $500 million to various sectors on Monday as part of its ongoing efforts to address the backlog of verified foreign exchange transactions.

With the CBN urging public support for forex market reforms, the $700 million question looms large, underscoring the need for a resolution to sustain Nigeria’s connectivity to international markets. The intricate dynamics between the CBN’s claim and airlines’ counterpoint set the stage for a continued saga in the realm of foreign exchange intricacies.


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