Nigeria, others account for 68% IATA blocked funds in Africa

It has been learnt that Nigeria has moved up among the countries with blocked funds belonging to foreign countries operating flights into and out of its territory.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed this at the weekend.

With foreign carriers unable to repatriate over $812.2 million out of the country as proceeds of ticket sales, Nigeria is ahead of Bangladesh with $214.1 million, Algeria with $196.3 million, Pakistan with $188.2 million, and Lebanon with $141.2 million.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh, who announced this at the annual general meeting (AGM and World Transport Summit of the world’s airline body in Istanbul, Turkey, warned that rapidly rising levels of blocked funds constitute a threat to airlines’ connectivity in the affected markets.

The industry’s blocked funds, Walsh said, increased by 47 per cent to $2.27 billion in April 2023, up from $1.55 billion in April 2022.

As it stands, the IATA boss said the top five countries that account for 68.0 per cent of blocked funds include Nigeria with the highest trapped funds of $812.2 million; Bangladesh with $214.1 million; Algeria with $196.3 million; Pakistan with $188.2 million; and Lebanon having $141.2 million.

He said: “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.”

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