January 23, (THEWILL) – The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, has appealed to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to prevail on its member airlines to show understanding as the various organs of government were making efforts to ensure that their tickets proceeds are duly remitted.
According to Hon. Nnaji, the prevailing situation aligned with the global economic meltdown assuring that the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had put in place a mechanism for the liquidation of the blocked funds of airlines in the country.
Out of a total of $1.1 billion airlines’ funds that are blocked in Africa and the Middle East, half of these funds ($550,000,000) are held in Nigeria.
Hon. Nnaji made the appeal while playing host to the IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and Middle East, Mr Kamil Ala Wadhi, who paid him a courtesy call in his office on Tuesday.
He also told the IATA Vice President that the Federal Government has made tremendous investments in the aviation sector to improve the security and safety of air transportation in the country.
Hon. Nnaji also praised the Association for its contributions to the safety of air travel through its operational safety programmes, (IOSA), which several Nigerian Airlines have benefited from.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Ala Wadhi had acknowledged the interest shown by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and its Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, towards finding solutions to the member airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria.
He disclosed that within his regions, “a total of $ 1.1 billion airlines’ funds are blocked and half of these funds ($550,000,000) are held in Nigeria. I do appreciate your interventions and l urge you to continue to do more so that it can be quickly resolved.”
It would be recalled that the House of Representatives Leadership had in the heat of the crisis intervened by bringing the Minister of Aviation, Senator Had Sirika, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and IATA representatives including some of the affected foreign airlines to discuss the way forward.
The intervention led to the phased remittances deployed by the CBN to gradually liquidate the backlog of the trapped funds.