The representative of International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in Nigeria, Samson Fatokun, says foreign airlines’ trapped funds in the African country is now $700 million.
In August, the International Air Transportation Association had disclosed that the trapped funds was $464 million as at July, however, that amount has now increased to $700 million.
Fatokun revealed this during a meeting with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, foreign airlines, Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) and leaderships of the House of Representatives, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Recall that Emefiele had revealed that the central bank plans to release $120 million to the foreign airlines to help with the repatriation process by October 31, 2022.
This is in addition to the $265 million the central bank released in August after the foreign airlines complained of not being able to repatriate their ticket revenue from Nigeria.
Giving an update to the total trapped funds, Fatokun said, “What we have right now is $700 million — our balance is $700 million.”
He asked that the financial regulator reveal the plans it has for foreign airlines that are unable to repatriate their funds, “The airlines are reasonable by saying that [you] give us a plan for repatriation,” he said.
The international airlines are avoiding the black market, as cost of exchanging naira to dollar is at a premium rate of N760/$1 as of October 25, 2022.
This makes the official market of the Investors and Exporters window the best option for foreign airlines to exchange naira for dollar, as the forex rate is placed at N441.67/$1.