Despite releasing $64.44 million, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has insisted that the Nigerian government still owes foreign carriers about $700 million.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier announced on Tuesday that an additional $66.44 million had been paid to all verified foreign airlines, stating that the disbursement to the airlines effectively brought to conclusion all outstanding verified settlements to the concerned aviation operators.
According to a statement signed by the CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mrs. Hakama Sidi- Ali, the payments were in fulfillment of its pledge to clear the backlog of FX owed foreign airlines in the country.
However, the international aviation body noted that approximately $700 million remains blocked with Nigeria’s commercial banks. As such there’s a considerable journey ahead in fully addressing the issue. We are consulting with our airline members to verify the release of their revenues.
This, it noted is exacerbated by the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira, which has dropped significantly against the US Dollar. Airlines should not be unfairly penalized by the lower exchange rate.
The body also reiterated that it will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with the government to ensure that the environment remains conducive to ensuring Nigeria’s connectivity to international markets.