The Federal Government of Nigeria has started paying foreign airlines’ trapped funds in the country, though it is being done gradually.
Some foreign airlines have started opening up their lower inventories for sale to travel agents.
The President of NANTA emphasized the need for collaboration between the government and airlines to benefit the travelling public and address issues such as trapped funds, monopoly, unfair practices, border and visa issues.
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agency (NANTA) said that the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has commenced the payment of the foreign airlines’ trapped funds in the country, albeit gradually.
NANTA also told journalists in Lagos that some foreign airlines, which hitherto blocked their lower inventories against the travel agents, have started opening them up for sale.
The President of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday in Lagos.
Though she could not be specific on the actual amount released so far to the over 25 foreign airlines affected by the crisis, she said the government was paying the funds “in trickles.”
What you should know
As of February this year, the trapped funds had grown to $743,721,027 million in Nigeria, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
This made Nigeria the highest among countries in the world with trapped funds.
IATA had said that as of January, the total trapped fund in Nigeria was $662 million and $549 million in December 2023.
Need for collaboration
Akporiaye emphasised that the government and the airlines needed to work in unison for the benefit of the travelling public, lamenting that the travel agencies were one of the most hit by the crisis of the trapped funds. She said:
“There is no 100 per cent halt; for instance, somebody is expecting $100,000 and he is getting $10,000. The payment is going on in tiny trickles. When we had a meeting with the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, he never actually told us some people were given preferential treatment.
“No, all of them are in the situation in which it is just in bits and pieces. The window is still open for them to do their normal two weeks bidding but whatever comes in is very insignificant.”
She further explained that steps were being taken to address the airlines’ trapped funds, monopoly, unfair practices, border and visa issues and a whole lot of emerging complexities by NANTA.
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