The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for releasing $64.44 million in blocked airline funds, but said $700 million remains blocked in Africa’s most populous nation.
The group disclosed it was in consultations with airline members to verify the release of these revenues, reports Channels TV.
“While this development is encouraging, it’s crucial to recognise that approximately $700 million remains blocked with Nigeria’s commercial banks. As such there’s a considerable journey ahead in fully addressing the issue,” IATA said.
“This is exacerbated by the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira, which has dropped significantly against the US Dollar. Airlines should not be unfairly penalised by the lower exchange rate.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with the government to ensure that the environment remains conducive to ensuring Nigeria’s connectivity to international markets.”
Central Bank of Nigeria had recently claimed that, “the latest disbursement marked the conclusion of the payment of all verified foreign exchange (FX) claims by airlines”.
The development, CBN claimed, also portends a potential end to a dispute that began in June 2022 when IATA first raised concern over its members’ $450 million blocked funds.
But IATA reaction comes hours after the apex bank announced that it had released an additional $64.44 million to the concerned foreign aviation firms.
The group also decried the devaluation of the naira against the United States dollar, saying it is of concern to it.
IATA is a clearing house for over 300 airlines worldwide, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.