- President Bola Tinubu has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to interface regularly with foreign airlines
- The directive is due to the $600 million trapped funds belonging to the airlines
- Festus Keyamo, the Aviation Minister, stated this as he unveiled his ministry’s agenda for the aviation industry
President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, September 14, 2023, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide the opportunity for quarterly meetings with foreign airlines to address the backlog of trapped funds belonging to the airlines.
The move follows an assertion by Airbus, which predicted that Nigeria will need about 149 more aircraft by 2042 to meet the demands of international air travel.
Nigeria to need additional aircraft in 10 years
Airbus Representative in West Africa, Joep Ellers, recently revealed this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has condemned Nigeria over the many charges imposed on foreign airlines plying the country’s airspace.
According to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, Tinubu’s directive was one of the reasons the President traveled to the United Arab Emirates.
BusinessDay reports that the minister also revealed three road map projects for the aviation industry, including an aircraft leasing firm, a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility, and five key areas to actualize Nigeria’s vision of becoming Africa’s best aviation hub.
Nigeria owes international airlines $600 million
Legit.ng has reported that Nigeria risks being boycotted by foreign airlines over the trapped funds.
The apex bank has repeatedly said that the scarcity of forex is the reason for the trapped funds.
Emirates Airlines reportedly boycotted Nigeria’s airspace due to the trapped funds.
Nigeria risks boycott of foreign airlines as CBN refuses to release $450 million belonging to them
Legit.ng reported that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Nigeria is withholding $450 million about N186.750 billion belonging to the airlines. In the statement, IATA said as of May 2022, withheld funds by Nigeria increased by 12.5 per cent month on month.
This amount is representative of the total amount of foreign airlines’ revenues that cannot be taken by the airlines.
Other countries in Africa are Algeria, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe all accounting for a combined $271 million owed to foreign airlines.