By Nosa Aituamen
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to expedite action in the release of trapped funds of foreign Airlines operating in the country.
NANTA President, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye in a statement says, as at the month of May, 2022, the trapped funds is estimated at well over $450 million US dollars.
NANTA reiterates, it is not a good business environment for an investor to be unable to take his funds out of the country and at the same time expected to operate at international best practices.
According to her, the current situation presents a real threat to the industry and the continuity of their business as Travel professionals, bearing in mind the potential jobs losses and the attendant national economic losses as the world is gradually coming out of the pandemic era.
“As Nigerians, we are patriotic and have presented our country well in the global travel industry and rightly felt disturbed that Nigeria is on the brinks of a wrong narrative at the just concluded 78th Annual General meeting of International Air Transport Association ( IATA) in Doha, Qatar on the account of Airlines trapped funds to which Nigeria is Africa’s leading boggy boy”.
The NANTA President says, they are worried that, foreign Airlines may resort to taking out lower inventory in the system resulting in high cost of tickets from the Nigerian market.
Explaining the implication, she stated that, for instance, a six hour trip to London may attract a fare rate of about two thousand dollars or more and also encourage tickets sold outside the country to flood Nigeria, thus affecting the survival of Nigerian travel agents and consequent loss of taxes and levies from such transactions.
Mrs. Akporiaye emphasized that, if the matter is not handled quickly, a bleak future more than the effects of the Pandemic awaits Nigeria Travel trade operators if nothing concrete and effectual is done URGENTLY to address this disturbing situation, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“We are by this outing once again, appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the ministry of Aviation and the office of the Vice President to speedily intervene to bring down the amount of trapped funds to help resolve the operations of these Airlines”.