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Relief as CBN releases $265m to foreign airlines

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The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday, released $265m to airlines operating in the country, to settle outstanding ticket sales to check a brewing crisis in the country’s aviation sector.

There have been serious concerns and reactions over hundreds of millions of dollars earned by foreign airlines operating in the country which they could not repatriate due to foreign exchange scarcity problems.

International airlines operating in the country have been raising airfares and reducing flights over their inability to repatriate funds to their home countries.

Emirates Airlines had announced the suspension of its flight operations in Nigeria from September 1, 2022, while fears had increased that more airlines may follow the same step.

According to the CBN,  breakdown of the figure indicated that $230m was released as special foreign exchange intervention while another $35m was released through Retail SMIS auction.

Disclosing this in a statement, the Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, said the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.

Nwanisobi retiterated that the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.

With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travelers as well will heave huge sighs of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for outstanding sale of tickets, CBN said.

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