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NANTA Calls On VP, CBN Aviation Ministry To Intervene In $450M Foreign Airlines Trapped Funds

The President and council members of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) have called on the office of the Vice President, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) the Aviation Ministry of Aviation to speedily intervene to bring about the release of the trapped funds of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria which stood at over $450 million in May,2022.

This is just as NANTA said that it is deeply concerned about the image the trapped funds is creating for the country among comity of nations,

A statement by the association said that NANTA as a strategic partner in the downstream aviation sector had over the years appealed to the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Aviation Ministry to see the possibility of reducing the humongous trapped funds.

The current situation, NANTA argued, presents a real threat to the industry and the continuity of our business as travel professionals, bearing in mind the potential jobs losses and the attendant national economic losses just as the country gradually comes out of the pandemic era.

The foreign airlines, the association pointed out, may resort to taking out lower inventory in the system resulting in high cost of tickets from the Nigerian market.

It added that as a result of the situation the foreign airlines find themselves in, a six-hour trip to London may attract a fare rate of about $2,000 or more.

Besides, NANTA said that the foreign airlines may also encourage tickets sold outside the country to flood Nigeria, thereby affecting the survival of Nigerian travel agents and consequent loss of taxes and levies from such transactions.

“As Nigerians, we are patriotic and have presented our country well in the global travel industry and rightly felt disturbed that Nigeria was on the brinks of a wrong narrative at the just concluded 78th Annual General Meeting(AGM) of International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Doha, Qatar, on the account of airlines trapped funds to which Nigeria is Africa’s leading boggy boy.

“We are by this outing once again, appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Aviation and the office of the Vice President to speedily intervene to bring down the amount of trapped funds to help resolve the operations of these airlines,” NANTA appealed.

NANTA reiterated that it is not a good business environment for an investor to be unable to take his funds out of the country and at the same time expected to operate at international best practices.

The travel agents umbrella body argued that with this situation, a bleak future more than the effects of the pandemic awaits Nigeria travel trade operators if nothing concrete and effectual is done urgently to address this disturbing situation, by the CBN.

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