The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that $53 million proceeds from sales of foreign airlines’ tickets are still trapped in Nigeria, just as African countries owed the foreign carriers a total of $516 million.
IATA, at its just-concluded 76th Annual General Meeting, added that international airlines are owed $824 million globally.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Mr. Muhammed Albakri, said foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the total sum of $53 million, which is the proceeds from ticket sales of their operations, back to their operational base.
He stated that Nigeria and other African countries have blocked funds that amounted to $516 million.
“$516 million out of $824 million in blocked funds is in Africa. With the IATA revelation, it means the rest of the world has $308 million of the blocked funds,” Albakri said.
According to him, Nigeria with $53 million trapped fund is the fourth among the 12 countries with a similar issue.
Others are Zimbabwe $160 million; Eritrea $79 million; Algeria $54 million; Ethiopia $52 million; Sudan $45 million; Libya $27 million; XAF Zone $27 million; Angola $9 million; Mozambique $6 million; Burundi $3 million and Zambia $1 million.
IATA explained that the main cause of the blocked fund is the inaccessibility to foreign exchange (forex) by operators as the countries’ economies are suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic, adding that most countries are struggling economically with its attendant effect on global airline industry.
IATA has been at the forefront of the campaign, soliciting governments’ support for the aviation industry in order to salvage the situation.