Keyamo affirms airline industry’s FX backlog cleared

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The Minister of Aviation and Aeronautics, Festus Keyamo said the Central Bank of Nigeria has cleared a backlog amounting to approximately $160 million for the air transport sector.

This was disclosed by the Keyamo in a live appearance on Arise television on Monday.

The minister noted that in Nigeria, there are two different backlogs of airline funds, but only those that fall within the ambit of the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria have been resolved.

He said the remaining funds were not in the hands of the Central Bank or the federal government, but rather with Commercial Banks.

Keyamo said “The problem with the repatriation of funds in the airline sector is that they were two sets of funds that were trapped. They were the funds that were trapped by the CBN. I think they call them forward sales or so that the airlines have bided for but the CBN was unable to meet the obligations.

“The airlines bided for it and the CBN approved the bid, but were unable to provide the funds for it. That one amounted to about $160 million. That is the government obligation and we have cleared it.

“So when the government said they have cleared their obligations, they are referring to the ones that CBN has responsibility in respect of the ones they have cleared.

“The other ones are for the commercial banks where they sell their tickets and their funds are trapped in commercial banks. The commercial banks cannot raise the FX to fund and transfer to them. That is not government’s responsibility. But regarding the government, CBN has cleared 100% of all the trapped funds in the airline sector.”

Recall, that following the payment of all verified claims by the airlines with an additional amount of $64.44 million to the airline concerned, the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier announced that it had fulfilled its commitment to clear the foreign exchange arrears of foreign airlines in the country.

However. the International Air Transport Association had said about $700 million of Nigerian airline sector funds remained in Nigerian banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement of the resolution of the airline industry’s backlog in the country.

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