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Nigeria tops list of countries with blocked funds for airlines in the world



The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has ranked Nigeria top in the list of countries with blocked funds for airlines in the world.

In a statement on Wednesday issued on Wednesday, IATA at least $2.0 billion belonging to airlines had been blocked by governments across the word.

According to the agency, the top five markets with blocked funds (excluding Venezuela) are Nigeria: $551 million, Pakistan: $225 million, Bangladesh: $208 million, Lebanon: $144 million, and Algeria: $140 million.

IATA stressed that airline funds due for repatriation but blocked by governments had increased by more than 25 percent ($394 million) in the last six months.

It also noted that airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in more than 27 countries and territories.

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For Nigeria, IATA said the repatriation issues arose in March 2020 when demand for foreign currency in the country outpaced supply and banks were unable to service currency repatriations.

The agency’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, expressed delight that the Nigerian authorities are working with the airlines to resolve the problem.

The Emirates Airline in October suspended flights to Nigeria over the blocked funds.

“Nigeria is an example of how government-industry engagement can resolve blocked funds issues. Working with the Nigerian House of Representatives, Central Bank, and the Minister of Aviation resulted in the release of $120 million for repatriation with the promise of a further release at the end of 2022.

“This encouraging progress demonstrates that, even in difficult circumstances, solutions can be found to clear blocked funds and ensure vital connectivity,” Kamil Al-Awadhi, IATA regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East said.

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