CBN begins reorganisation with sack

FX backlog settlement: FG still owes foreign airlines about $29m

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Contrary to the reports that the federal government is still indebted to the foreign airlines to $700 million, indications have just emerged that the only backlog the government is yet to pay the airlines is about $29 million.

According to information gathered, the $29 million falls under the category of unverified debts which the affected airlines could not present to the Central Bank of Nigeria during the reconciliation of their accounts.

It has however been revealed that it is only the commercial banks of the airlines that are still holding on to the monies of the airlines even when the CBN had prevailed on the commercial banks to release the funds.

Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune on the present status of the foreign airlines’ trapped funds, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye, said though she was aware that the government had almost defrayed its backlog debts to the foreign carriers except the one that could not be properly verified, she however said any debts the airlines are talking about now must be the ones with the commercial banks.

While saying it is only the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the clearing house for over 300 airlines globally that can reveal the actual figure still being owed by Nigeria and its commercial banks, the $700 million being bandied about is not true.

Also read: Cleared FX Backlog: CBN reports increase in external reserves, March

When contacted to state the actual amount of the debts being owed to foreign carriers in Nigeria, IATA’s representative in West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun declared: ” I can say categorically that it is no longer true. That figure ($700million) was valid 3 months ago.”

Though Fatokun said there were still some backlogs, he insisted that the backlog was no longer to the tune of $700.

His words: “At times, the commercial banks are slower than the communique from the CBN.

We will ask the airlines to contact their banks today, Thursday and tomorrow and by Monday we will have a clearer position. Then we can respond to your enquiry based on verified data.”

All things being equal, the actual indebtedness of the commercial banks and the status of the unverified $29 million the government was yet to pay will be put in the public domain by next week.

Also read: 53% of Nigeria’s petrol smuggled through porous borders — Information Minister


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