From Uche Usim, Abuja
Soothing news came the way of foreign airlines on Friday, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has released $265 million to them to repatriate funds accrued from ticket sales.
A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through Retail SMIS auction. Confirming the release, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said the Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travellers as well as the country in the comity of nations. Nwanisobi reiterated that the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.
With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travellers will heave huge sighs of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for outstanding sale of tickets.
Before this intervention, the angry foreign carriers, accounting for 80 per cent of commercial aviation earnings in Nigeria, had threatened to halt flights over their ‘detained’ funds estimated to have reached $464 million as of July 2022.
Specifically, Emirates Airlines said it would stop flights to Nigeria effective September 1
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