The Nigerian government says international airline companies whose funds are trapped in the country will be paid.
The government disclosed that it had commenced the process of paying the companies their unrepatriated funds, a situation that has engendered a diplomatic row with some countries.
Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, made the disclosure on Thursday, at the closing ceremony of the 7th African Aviation Summit in Abuja.
In June 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said $812.2 million of foreign airlines’ funds are withheld in Nigeria.
Speaking on the issue, Keyamo expressed President Bola Tinubu’s concern, assuring that efforts were being made to ensure that the funds of the foreign airlines were repatriated.
He disclosed that the ministry of finance and the CBN were working on a feasible timeframe convenient for the release of the funds.
“In fact, it is one of the issues we went to discuss in the UAE,” he said.
“I spoke with the minister of finance and the coordinating minister of the economy and he has given an indication that within the next few weeks, the Central Bank of Nigeria will be very clear as to the timeframe or the programme within which these issues will be addressed.
“They will be paid off; these are not loans, they are trapped funds, they are funds that are there, it is only the issue of liquidity that is our problem.”
Keyamo added that liquidity issues are being addressed “as I speak right now”.
“It is something that the president is very concerned about, and that issue, I said that we have addressed it in the UAE and very soon, you will hear from the financial sector,” he said.