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Tinubu mute on trapped foreign airlines’ funds at UNGA as value hit $783m

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A review of President Bola Tinubu’s address at the United Nations general Assembly (UNGA) has shown that he was tactically silent on the plights of foreign airlines whose fund has been trapped for years at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Already, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that as of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783m of airlines’ blocked funds. This was contained in a statement by the trade association which said that the IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, Kamil Al Awadhi has had engagements with the Federal Government to resolve the situation. For several years now, foreign airlines operating in the country have been unable to repatriate their commercial revenue amid a protracted scarcity of forex.

The statement read in part, “Mr. Al Awadhi also met with Nigeria’s new Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Honorable Minister Festus Keyamo, during which he called on the new government for continued, but closer, consultation with the industry while developing short- and long-term solutions for foreign exchange access to both domestic and foreign carriers.  As of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783m of airlines’ blocked funds.”

According to the statement, the IATA is impressed with the commitment of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to improving infrastructure and service levels at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within twelve months. It noted that last year, the IATA raised concerns over a number of safety, security and passenger service level concerns at the Lagos airport.

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