Foreign Airlines Ask FG To Provide Evidence Of Clearing Forex Backlog


Mar 21, 2024

Foreign airline operators in Nigeria have challenged the announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that it has cleared all valid foreign exchange backlogs.
Speaking through the President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), Kingsley Nwokeoma, the operators challenged the federal government to provide evidence of payment.

“If they’ve paid, they should let us know how much has been paid. Where is the evidence of payment? They should show us evidence of payments and we will thank them because payment is what we want. The backlog of trapped funds made foreign airlines stop releasing low inventory tickets,” Nwokeoma said in a chat with Vanguard.

Nwokeoma added that although foreign airlines have been told to get their funds from the banks using the rate of the I & E window, they refused because the current I & E window rate differed from what they used in selling tickets.
The position of the operators was made public after the CBN, on Wednesday, announced that it had cleared the $7 billion foreign exchange (FX) backlog, which was pending when Yemi Cardoso took over as the Governor of the apex bank.

The CBN Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Hakama Sidi Ali made this known in a statement released.

Ali, in a statement, said CBN had concluded the payment of $1.5 billion to settle obligations to bank customers, effectively settling the residual balance of the FX backlog.

According to her, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced that all valid foreign exchange backlogs have now been settled, fulfilling a key pledge of the CBN Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso, to process an inherited backlog of $7bn in claims.

“Clearance of the foreign exchange transactions backlog is part of the overall strategy detailed in last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting to stabilise the exchange rate and thereby curb imported inflation, spurring confidence in the banking system and the economy.”

With $812.2 million, Nigeria tops the countries that account for 68.0 per cent of blocked funds. Others are Bangladesh ($214.1 million), Algeria ($196.3 million), Pakistan ($188.2 million) and Lebanon ($141.2 million).

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