Nigeria Settles $850 Million Owed To International Airline Operators

Nigeria has cleared 98% of it’s $850 million FX backlog owed to airline operators internationally, signalling optimism as the country struggles find Fx market price.

This was confirmed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which clarified that a residue of $19 million dollars is still pending verification by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This comes shortly after Nigeria faced challenges with foreign airlines able to repatriate their earnings due to severe dollar shortage. As a result, Nigeria owed the International airline entities upto $850 million in June 2023, only able to a fraction of it at $61 million, which was seen as too insignificant. This prompted threats to go on strike in January 2024, and others scaled their operations.

IATA wrote in a statement commending the Nigerian government and the CBN for their efforts to resolve the issue, and went further to state that individual Nigerians and the economy will all benefit from reliable air connectivity, for which access to revenues is critical.

The development is in alignment with the CBN broader efforts to clear a $7 billion FX backlog and stabilize the exchange rate of Naira to Dollar.

The CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso announced in February 2024, that the FX backlog had dropped to $2.2 billion. Prior to then, the CBN in January 2024, disbursed $61.64 million to foreign airlines through various deposit money banks in an effort to clear the Fx backlog. In the same month, the apex bank released $500 million to various sectors addressing the backlog of verified foreign exchange transactions.

Cardoso in March, announced in a statement that all valid foreign exchange backlogs of $7 billion had been cleared. It was also reported by the CBN also that the external reserves had increased significantly from $993 million to $34.11 billion, the highest level witnessed in eight months.