Airlines, CBN, Differ On Clearance Of $64m Forex Backlog

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday announced that it has concluded payment of all verified claims by airlines with an additional $64.44m to the concerned airlines.

The Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the latest amount paid to the airlines brought the total verified amount paid to that sector to $136.73m. She added that all the verified airline claims had now been cleared.

The statement reads, “The Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and his team were doubly committed and would stop at nothing to ensure that the verified backlog of payments across all other sectors was cleared and confidence was restored in the Nigerian foreign exchange market”.

But Daily Trust quotes an anonymous industry player as rejecting CBN’s announcement.

A foreign airline source quoted by the paper said what the CBN did was to clear all IATA matured bids and tickets sold via BSP (billing settlement platform).

“But airlines still have their bids through banks that are yet to come in. Also direct tickets sales by airlines remain,” the source was quoted as saying.

On his part, president of the Association of Foreign Airline Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), Dr. Kingsley Nwokoma sought the breakdown of the verifiable claims as stated by the apex bank,

According to him, what has been paid so far is a small percentage compared to the debt owed airlines.

“At least they have done something, they can have an agreement where they can be paying quarterly in a systematic manner. We know it is above $800m.

“But let them break it down so that we can know what is verifiable. You have given $61m and $64m now. Technically they said they have paid over $130m now. It is easy, there is no big deal about it. This is what is verifiable but we all know what the airlines have been talking about.”

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