President Bola Tinubu has instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to begin quarterly meetings with foreign airlines to resolve the issue of over $600 million in airline revenue trapped in the country.
The Minister of Aviation Festus Keyamo disclosed the president’s directive on Tuesday at the African Aviation Summit in Abuja. It follows recent talks between Tinubu and UAE leaders regarding the forex challenges.
Keyamo stated the administration remains committed to ensuring airlines can readily access foreign exchange, and the CBN is open to providing tax breaks to encourage aviation investments.
The trapped funds have concerned international carriers operating in Nigeria due to inability to repatriate earnings. The government hopes structured dialogue at the CBN can find solutions.
Keyamo reiterated Nigeria’s goal of becoming Africa’s aviation hub. He outlined key focus areas like infrastructure upgrades, establishing an aircraft leasing company and maintenance facility, and improving forex flows.
The summit also saw Airbus predict 5% annual passenger traffic growth in Nigeria’s domestic market over the next twenty years. But IATA criticized the multiple taxes imposed on airlines operating in the country.
As aviation plays a major role in Nigeria’s economy, the Tinubu administration aims to boost the sector’s development and competitiveness. Resolving the long-standing forex challenges will be critical to attracting investment.