Senate Asks CBN Gov To Release $717.4m Blocked Airlines’ Funds
The Senate, yesterday, urged the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to release the $717, 478, 606 airlines’ funds blocked in the country.
The red chamber also called on the CBN to allocate $25 million to airlines operating in Nigeria at its dollar auction.
These resolutions were sequel to the consideration and adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti South), titled: “Current Issues on airlines blocked funds in Nigeria.”
Olujimi is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Bala Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi ) presented the motion on behalf of Senator Olujimi.
The upper chamber also called on the federal government to urgently reverse the current trend of increasing airlines blocked funds in Nigeria.
It also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to pay up the blocked funds to the affected airlines.
The upper chamber further appealed to the airlines operating in the country not to withdraw their services, while efforts were on-going to resolve the issue.
Moving the motion, Na’Allah said since January 2021, Nigeria has been the most challenging country in the world for the airlines to repatriate their funds to support their operation.
He said, “In February, Nigeria alone accounted for 44 per cent of total airlines blocked funds in the entire world.
“The total airlines blocked funds in Nigeria as at March amounted to $717,478,606, comprising matured bids that the CBN is yet to deliver, bids yet to mature and cash balances in airlines’ accounts for repatriation.
“The matured bids not delivered by CBN amounted to $186.5 million amounting for 26 per cent of total blocked funds while three stakeholders (IATA, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines) accounted for 57 per cent of total blocked funds.
“A review of airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria in the last six months shows an average month-on-month increase of $49.3million
“The consequences of these blocked funds are: Cheap tickets are not available in Nigeria because taxes and inflation would have eroded the profit when the funds are kept for a very long time.
“This makes tickets very expensive and limited because neighbouring countries get the cheap tickets because of prompt payments due to prompt repatriation of funds.”
Senators in their contribution supported the motion and voted to approve the prayers when they were put to voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.