The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has informed foreign airlines that the apex bank is not compelled by any law to provide dollars to airlines.
Central Bank governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, stated this at today’s monetary policy committee meeting.
The apex bank also stated that it was determined to clear the forex backlog owed to the airlines as long as their banks are fully funded. However, he explained that it was not the CBN’s responsibility to grant dollars to foreign airlines.
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Emefiele said the bilateral air service agreements, which have been a major refrain by the foreign airlines, require all ticket sales earnings to be repatriated out of the nation. “It did not say that you have to repatriate all of your dollars through the Central Bank. There is no law that makes it compulsory for you to purchase dollars from the Central Bank,” he said
He said, “When you deposit money into your account, you are instructing your bank to purchase a dollar. Your bank would purchase dollars from legitimate sources, in this case, the I&E window, to pay for the ticket….”
He added that “If they don’t find dollars, they can resort to the CBN but it doesn’t mean CBN is under compulsion to provide dollars”
He further added that foreign airlines should allow Nigerian airlines an equal opportunity to land their planes, which is in accordance with bilateral air service agreements.
“You cannot have 21 landing slots in a week from your country into Nigeria and yet not even seven landings for a Nigerian airline that wants to land its aircraft in your country. This is unacceptable to us as Nigerians,” he said.
The CBN has released the sum of $265 million with a portion of it going to settle trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines.