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Foreign airlines struggle to free $575m trapped in CBN

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Foreign airlines operating in the country are struggling to free about $575 million in generated revenue trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

To this end, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) has been engaging government through the Ministry of Transportation, CBN and the vice-president’s office to free the funds at the apex bank as at March this year.

This was disclosed by IATA’s Area Manager, South West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, at the Aviation Day in Abuja.

According to him, the foreign airlines have found it increasingly difficult to repatriate their earnings due to the dollar shortage in the country brought on by the low earnings from crude oil sales.
He said, “We are engaging government through the ministry, CBN and vice-president and government is giving the aviation the best possible attention the sector deserves. We are addressing the issues and government is giving us support”.

Read also: Despite subsidy removal, foreign reserves drop 0.75%

He lamented the high charges and taxes levied on airlines, saying that African countries have the highest charges and taxes on airlines in the world.

On his part, the Regional Vice-President, Africa and Middle East, Hussein Abbas, noted that Senegal and Nigeria have the highest taxes on the continent, noting that high taxes discourage passenger patronage and keep travellers away from the airports.

Abbas said since crude oil prices crashed, airlines in Africa still buy aviation fuel at very exorbitant rates, adding that IATA and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had been engaging governments of nation states in the region to reduce such charges and introduce them in a transparent way so that they would reflect the services they provide to the airlines.

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