Chief Executive Officer of an aviation company, Mr Segun Adewale, has urged the Federal Government to expeditiously repatriate the 600 million dollars ticket revenue belonging to foreign airlines operating in the country.
Adewale, also former Vice-Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) made gave the charge in a statement he issued on Saturday in Ikeja.
One of the airlines, Emirates Airlines on Thursday announced the suspension of its flight operations in Nigeria from Sept. 1, over its inability to repatriate its funds from the country.
International carriers operating in Nigeria have repeatedly complained about their inability to repatriate funds to their home countries.
Blocked funds belonging to these airlines have risen to about 600 million dollars as the CBN had not been able to make the dollar available for the carriers to repatriate.
Adewale stated that revenue from ticket sales which accumulated since 2021 till July 2022 was blocked by the CBN from being repatriated to airline operators through the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“The repatriation of revenues of all tickets sold to travellers by airline operators to their home offices is the responsibility of the CBN, but it has refused to release the equivalent in dollars for service already rendered.
“We have lost so many airlines and jobs are being lost in the aviation sector and at airports generally.
“The development is inimical to our economic wellbeing as a nation; from the spiritual angle of thought, it is wrong to muzzle the ox that threads the corn,’’ Adewale stated.
The airline chief decried that the blocked funds had already led to reduction of air connectivity and restriction of flights.
He stated that it was disheartening that the same FOREX being denied the airlines was being released to import non-essential products such as champagne and tooth picks.
“If foreign airlines suspend flight operations, businesses will be shifted to neighbouring countries like Ghana and Benin Republic.
“The issue is so difficult for the operators, who now borrow FOREX from their home offices to fuel their airplanes.
“With the increase in dollar rate leading to rise in flight ticket prices, especially en-route America and Dubai, which is now over a million naira, the environment is getting hostile for businesses to thrive,’’ he stated.
Adewale appealed to the Ministers of Aviation, Finance and the CBN to do the needful and ensure release of FOREX.