The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that $143.8 million in airline revenues are blocked by the Nigerian government. It added that nearly $1 billion in airline revenues are blocked by governments across the globe.
This was disclosed by the organisation via a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.
It urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
What IATA is saying about the blocked funds
In the statement, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General stated, “Nigeria blocks $143.8 million. Governments are preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated. This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritize ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk.”
What you should know about the blocked funds
About $963 million in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries. Four countries: Bangladesh ($146.1 million), Lebanon ($175.5 million), Nigeria ($143.8 million), and Zimbabwe ($142.7 million), account for over 60% of this total, although there has been positive progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe of late.
“We encourage governments to work with industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energize economies as they recover from COVID-19,” added Walsh.
In case you missed it
In December 2020, Nairametrics reported that the sum of $53 million, which is the proceeds from sales of foreign airlines tickets, are trapped in Nigeria.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Mr Muhammed Albakri, explained that foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the fund back to their operational base.