The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that foreign airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have risen to over 743.7 million dollars.
IATA disclosed this in a letter written to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika in Abuja and obtained by Channels Television on Wednesday.
The letter dated March 14, 2023, and signed by the Area Manager, West, and Central Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun showed that the airline blocked funds rose from $549 million in December 2022 and $662 million in January to $743.7 million.
IATA noted that for over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airlines’ blocked funds in the world.
According to the association, the increasing backlog of international airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria is a potential threat to foreign direct investment into the country and could affect the operations of airlines leading to job losses.
While appealing to the Minister of Aviation to intervene in resolving the issues, the association also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to clear all airlines blocked funds before leaving office.
Meanwhile, at a meeting with the IATA and foreign airlines operators in Abuja to discuss the issues, Sirika said the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria and is not what the ministry can handle alone.
He urged international airline operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issues bearing in mind the effects of COVID-19 and the recession the country had experienced.