The Vice-President for Africa and Middle East of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Mr. Kamil Ala Wadhi has disclosed that international airlines’ funds in Nigeria have risen to $500 million while the total trapped fund of airlines in Africa stands at $1.1 billion.
Alawahdi who paid the Chairman of the Aviation committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji a courtesy call in his office on Tuesday acknowledged the interest shown by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Nnaji towards finding solutions to the member airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.
He disclosed that within his regions, a total of $ 1.1 billion of airlines’ funds are blocked and half of these funds while $550 million are held in Nigeria.
“I do appreciate your interventions and l urge you to continue to do more so that it can be quickly resolved”.
Nnaji appealed to IATA to prevail on its member airlines to show understanding as the various organs of government were making efforts to ensure that their ticket proceeds are duly remitted.
He reminded his guest that the prevailing situation was in consonance with the global economic meltdown assuring him that the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had put in place a mechanism for the liquidation of the blocked funds.
He also told the IATA Vice President that the Federal Government has made tremendous investments in the aviation sector to improve the security and safety of air transportation in the country.
He also praised the association for its contributions to the safety of air travel through its Operational Safety Programmes (IOSA) which a number of Nigerian airlines have benefited from.
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives leadership had in the heat of the crisis intervened by bringing the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and IATA representative including some of the affected foreign airlines to discuss the way forward.
The intervention led to the phased remittances deployed by the CBN to gradually liquidate the backlog of the trapped funds.