Nigeria Accounts For 35% Of Foreign Airlines’ Trapped Funds Globally

Emirates Airline Suspends Nigerian Operation In Protest Over Trapped Revenue

1 year ago
1 min read

Emirates, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has suspended flights in Nigeria, as the company complains of its revenue trapped in the country.

Scarcity of dollar had led to foreign airlines’ funds being trapped in Nigeria, as the country’s foreign reserves  falls in response to dwindling oil revenue, which accounts for about 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign currency vault.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had recently released a $260 million to foreign airlines to enable them repatriate some of their ticket earnings trapped in Nigeria.

In a statement on Thursday, Emirates said the company has been unable to obtain forex from the funds provided by the central bank.

The airline said it cannot meet its operational costs or maintain the commercial viability of its  operations in Nigeria due to the trapped funds.

The statement reads, “Emirates has yet to receive an allocation of our blocked funds to be repatriated. Without the timely repatriation of the funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds do not accumulate in any way, the backlog will continue to grow, and we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria.

“We have officially communicated our position and attended multiple hearings with the Nigerian government, and we have made our proposed approach clear to alleviate this untenable situation, including a plan for the progressive release of our funds.

“This included the repatriation and receipt of at least 80% of our remaining blocked funds by the end of October 2022, in addition to providing a guaranteed mechanism to avoid future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays.

“Under these extraordinary circumstances Emirates had no option but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria from 29 October 2022 to mitigate against further losses moving forward. We hope to reach a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government around the repatriation of blocked funds to enable the resumption of operations and connectivity for travellers and businesses.”


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