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CBN Gov. Emefiele buckles, releases $265 million to airlines for unremitted ticket sales

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Faced with the reality of total collapse of aviation sector in Nigeria, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele announced on Friday that the sum of $265 million has been released to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales.

This was disclosed in a statement by the bank’s director, corporate communications, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi.

Nwanisobi said Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travellers as well as the country in the comity of nations.

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

“A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as a special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through Retail SMIS auction,” the statement reads.

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

Nigeria is facing a forex exchange crisis to meet various obligations, including revenue repatriation by foreign airlines and dollar requests by citizens and businesses.

Last week, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) disclosed that foreign airlines’ funds trapped in Nigeria increased from $450 million in May to $464 million in July.

Due to the development, Emirates Airlines announced the suspension of flight operations to Nigeria.

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