The Senate urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the $717,478.606 held captive by airlines.
The red chamber also requested that the CBN allocate $25 million to Nigerian airlines during its dollar auction.
These resolutions followed the consideration and adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti South) titled “Current Issues on Blocked Funds for Airlines in Nigeria.”
Olujimi is the chair of the Senate Aviation Committee.
Senator Bala Allah (APC-Kebbi), Vice Chairman of the Committee, presented the motion on behalf of Senator Olujimi.
Additionally, the upper chamber urged the federal government to immediately reverse the rising trend of blocked airline funds in Nigeria.
In addition, it demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari instruct CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to release the blocked funds to the affected airlines.
In addition, the upper chamber urged airlines operating in the country not to terminate their services while efforts to resolve the issue continued.
Since January 2021, Nigeria has been the most difficult country in the world for airlines to repatriate funds to support their operations, according to Na’Allah, who proposed the motion.
He stated, “In February, Nigeria accounted for 44% of all airline funds that were blocked globally.
“As of March, the total quantity of airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria was $717,478,606. This figure includes matured bids that the CBN has yet to deliver, bids that have yet to mature, and cash balances in airlines’ accounts for repatriation.
“The matured proposals not delivered by CBN totaled $186.5 million, representing 26% of total blocked funds, whereas three stakeholders (IATA, Qatar Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines) accounted for 57% of total blocked funds;
A review of blocked airline funds in Nigeria over the past six months reveals an average monthly increase of $49.3 million.
“As a result of these obstructed funds, it is impossible to purchase inexpensive airline tickets in Nigeria, as taxes and inflation would have eroded the profit had the funds been held for a very long time.
“As a result, tickets are prohibitively expensive and in short supply, as prompt payments and repatriation of funds allow neighbouring nations to obtain discounted tickets.”
In their contributions, senators supported the motion and approved the prayers when presented to a voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.