By Favour Nnabugwu
International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) has said Nigeria and 12 other African countries owing proceeds from the sale of foreign tickets to the tune of $516 million as Nigeria alone owes of $53 million.
Others African states are Zimbabwe $160 million; Eritrea $79 million; Algeria $54 million; Ethiopia $52 million; Sudan $45 million; Libya $27 million; XAF Zone $27 million; Angola $9 million; Mozambique $6 million; Burundi $3 million and Zambia $1 million.
The Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Mr. Muhammed Albakri made this known at its 76th Annual General Meeting initially scheduled in June in Amsterdam, was held on 24 November 2020 as a virtual event, sponsored by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
He said Nigeria is not the only country with trapped funds but fourth among 12 others with similar issues
Albakri explained that foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the fund back to their operational base.
He said, “IATA has been at the forefront of the campaign, soliciting governments’ support for the aviation industry in order to salvage the situation.”
The IATA’s disclosure is an indication that the airlines could not access foreign exchange (forex) by operators due to COVID-19 pandemic, as most countries are struggling economically with its attendant effect on global airline industry.
International airlines are owed $824 million globally and $516 million out of $824 million in blocked funds is in Africa. With the IATA revelation, it means the rest of the world has $308 million of the blocked funds.