CBN clears $64.44m forex backlog for airlines

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Bisola David

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced that it has fulfilled its commitment by clearing a $64.44 million backlog of foreign exchange owed to airlines.

The Times reported that this new payout increases the total verified amount paid to airlines to $136.73 million, completing the settlement of proven FX claims in the industry.

However, this payment only represents 17% of the $800 million owed to airlines.

The CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, stated on Tuesday that Governor Olayemi Cardoso and his team are focused on completing outstanding duties in other sectors, leaving no one behind.

She noted that the CBN seeks for a robust and liquid forex market, cautioning participants against manipulative activities that could harm the Naira. Instead, she called for collaborative efforts and adherence to regulations to ensure market forces rightfully determine exchange rates.

According to statement, she claimed that the Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and his team were doubly committed to clearing the verified backlog of payments across all other sectors and restoring confidence in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

“Furthermore, she assured that the CBN was working with stakeholders to improve liquidity in the forex market, reducing pressure on the Naira.

“While expressing optimism that the market would respond positively to the current infusion of over $64 million, she cautioned foreign exchange market participants to avoid speculating, which might hurt the naira.

The CBN previously stated that it had given $500 million to several sectors in an effort to reduce the backlog of confirmed foreign exchange transactions.

Over the last three months, the CBN has successfully cleared over $2.5 billion in late foreign exchange forwards, attempting to clear the backlog of dollars in Africa’s biggest economy.

Foreign airlines operating in Nigeria have previously expressed discontent with the federal government’s initial $61 million payment to cover the $800 million in income owing to international carriers stuck in the country.

The airlines classified the amount as a little decline, indicating that they may reconsider their continuous flying operations in Nigeria due to the government’s perceived lack of prioritization in resolving the frozen money issue.

The CBN is however conducting an independent forensic assessment through a reputable unnamed company, which served as the foundation for resolving the existing FX backlog.

The apex bank stated that it would work with competent agencies to impose appropriate punishment following a forensic assessment that revealed serious violations, widespread abuse, and significant noncompliance with market regulations.

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