Nigeria’s Aviation Ministry has said that it is working on releasing trapped funds to Emirates after the carrier suspended flights to the country beginning next month.
The airline announced that it will cease flights to Nigeria beginning September due to inability to repatriate funds from the country.
According to Reuters, the problem has developed because Nigeria has restricted access to foreign exchange.
“Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria and have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution. Regrettable there has been no progress,” Emirates said in a statement.
The move comes after Emirates stated last month that it will curtail flights to Nigeria’s commercial centre Lagos, citing a lack of access to $85 million(10,183,000,000)in money kept in the nation.
The airline said in a letter to Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika that the frozen funds had been increasing by more than $10 million(1,198,000,000)each month.
Sirika told an international television station that the frozen monies would be freed since Nigeria had previously held onto large sums of income belonging to foreign airlines.
“In the past, Nigeria has demonstrated the capacity and the willingness and fairness to resolve this type of issue. It happened when we took over power in 2015: There were lots of blocked funds, about $600 million (Sh71,880,000,000)at that time.
It was at a time when the country was in a recession and there were dwindling revenues coming to the country, yet we honored our obligation to pay out all those blocked funds,” Sirika said.