“When They Were Not Here, Were We Not Flying?” – Amaechi Reaction To Airlines Leaving Nigeria

Foreign airlines are having a difficult time operating in Nigeria and some were recently reported to have ended their operations in Nigeria.

The reason for this is attributed to the inability of foreign carriers to repatriate their revenues to their home countries.

This is as a result of the federal government’s foreign exchange policy that has placed a limit on the amount of money that can be repatriated abroad.

The federal government came up with this policy in response to the global decline in oil prices – which has severely affected the oil-dependent Nigerian economy.

Funds of foreign airlines stuck in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as at March 31, 2016, was about $575 million and the airlines fear that they would lose substantial value of this money should the Nigerian government carry out the devaluation of the naira.

While United Airlines has expressed its plan to stop flights to and from Nigeria and Air France, Qatar and Etihad have also issued a two-month revenue warning on tickets sold in naira.

Both airlines have warned that they must be allowed to repatriate or they would pull their flights from the country.

To ascertain the state of things and the government’s disposition to the situation, YNaija reports that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who urged Nigerians to accept the fact that some foreign airlines may have to pull out of the country as a result of the government’s policies.

“The earlier Nigeria accepts this, the better for us. We’ll bounce back when we grow the economy. ?We are not going to die, when they were not there, were we not flying?”, the Minister said.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) during its recent conference in Abuja, said it’s in talks with the federal government on how to repatriate the funds of foreign airlines.

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