Blocked Funds: Reps Appeal for understanding as $550m still held in Nigeria

From left: Samson Fatokun, IATA Country Manager for West and Central Africa, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation and Mr Kamil Ala Wadhi, IATA Vice President for Africa and Middle East

 

Posted by Sade Williams

 

The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has appealed to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to prevail on its member airlines to show understanding as the various organs of government were making efforts to ensure that their tickets proceeds are duly remitted.

This is just as the members heard that $550 million out $1.1 billion blocked in Africa and Middle East is held in Nigeria.

Honourable Nnaji made the appeal while playing host to the IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East, Mr Kamil Ala Wadhi who paid him a courtesy call in his office on Tuesday.

The committee Chairman 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 security and safety of air transportation in the country.

Honourable Nnaji 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.

Earlier in his speech, Mr Ala Wadhi had acknowledged the interest shown by the Speaker of the House of the House of Representatives and its Committee on Aviation Honourable Nnolim Nnaji towards finding solutions to the member airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.

He disclosed that within his regions, “a total of $1.1billion airlines’ funds are blocked and half of these funds ($550,000,000) 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”.

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives Leadership had at the heat of the crisis intervened by bringing, the Minister if Aviation, Senator Had 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.

 

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