The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said Nigeria is withholding $812m unrepatriated airlines’ funds.
This is as Africa’s most populous nation is topping the list of five countries that account for 68 per cent of the total blocked funds worldwide.
IATA disclosed this in a statement on Sunday by its Director-General, Willie Walsh, adding that the airlines’ funds blocked from repatriation globally have increased to $2.27 billion in April 2023.
The other four countries are Bangladesh, Algeria, Pakistan, and Lebanon.
According to the statement, unrepatriated funds increased by 47 per cent from $1.55 billion in April last year.
It warned that rapidly rising levels of blocked funds are a threat to airline connectivity in the affected markets.
The breakdown of the funds in some regions shows that a total of $812.2 million is withheld in Nigeria, while $214.1 million is trapped in Bangladesh.
The authorities of Algeria, Pakistan, and Lebanon are blocking the repatriation of $196.3 million, $188.2 million, and $141.2 million, respectively, the association added.
Walsh called on governments to find lasting solutions to the situation to ensure aviation companies sustain connectivity.
“Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets. Governments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation,” Walsh said.
He also urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate the funds arising from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.Follow us on social media