The International Air Transport Association, IATA, said that about 98 per cent of foreign airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria have been repatriated by the international carriers in less than one year.

The Director-General of IATA, Willie Walsh, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Walsh noted that as of June 2023, Nigeria had blocked funds totaling $850 million, which had a considerable impact on the operations and financial health of airlines operating in the country.

He explained that 98 per cent of the $850 million had been paid while the total of $19 million, representing about two per cent of the funds, is still outstanding.

“At its peak in June 2023, Nigeria’s blocked funds amounted to $850 million, significantly affecting airline operations and finances in the country.

“Carriers faced difficulties in repatriating revenues in U.S. dollars, and the high volume of blocked funds led some airlines to reduce their operations and one carrier to temporarily cease operations to Nigeria, which severely impacted the country’s aviation industry.

“However, as of April 2024, 98 percent of these funds have been cleared. The remaining $19 million is due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing verification of outstanding forward claims filed by the commercial banks.

“We commend the new Nigerian government and the CBN for their efforts to resolve this issue.

“Individual Nigerians and the economy will all benefit from reliable air connectivity for which access to revenues is critical,” Walsh said.

This comes months after the Central Bank of Nigeria said it has concluded all payments of foreign airlines trapped funds despite the foreign exchange crisis.

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