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Ministry’ll continue to push for release of trapped $743 at CBN, but…

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has once again distanced himself from being the person in charge of making the trapped foreign airlines fund at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) be paid to them.
However, he assured to use his good office to track the apex bank in early release of the trapped fund which has grown risen by 12.39 per cent to $743,721,097 in January 2023 from $662m in the corresponding period last year.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had on Tuesday disclosed that the trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria have risen by 12.39 per cent to $743,721,097 in January 2023 vide a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, signed by the Area Manager West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.
IATA urged the minister to intervene and ensure the resolution of the issue of airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.
“For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world. Please find attached the comparative table of airlines’ blocked funds by country.
“Moreover, as of January 2023, airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have increased to $743.721.092 from $662m in January 2022 and $549m in December 2022.
The body made it clear that the continued trapping of the funds violates the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), saying that the country was flaunting its contractual obligations by not facilitating the repatriation of the airlines’ funds.
While highlighting the social-economic impact of the airline-blocked funds in Nigeria, Fatokun said the increasing backlog of blocked funds of international airlines will impact negatively the foreign direct investment in the country, at a moment the country was expecting investment in the concession of some of its major airports.

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