Home » CBN begins clearing of $10bn forex backlogs for airlines, others

CBN begins clearing of $10bn forex backlogs for airlines, others

by Samson Echenim

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have begun to clear over the $10 billion foreign exchange backlogs of airline operators, commercial banks and other foreign owned businesses operating in Nigeria.

“Yes, the CBN commenced forex backlog payment to our bank. yesterday,” a source competent on the development said on Thursday.

According to reports, airlines are seeing their backlogs being cleared.

Stanbic IBTC also alluded to the clearing of the forex backlogs.

“Yesterday, (Wednesday), the apex bank began clearing the backlog of outstanding Retail SMIS obligations. The total amount cleared is yet to be ascertained.”

The development comes barely 24 hours after the chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria owes his firm $24 million, six months after lodgment amid the foreign exchange crisis.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, disclosed last week that the country would soon receive an inflow of $10 billion in foreign currency to mitigate the forex crisis.

The Nigerian Economy reported in August that Onyema said 15 aircraft in his airline’s fleet were stranded abroad, as his company’s $14 million was trapped in CBN.

Air Peace is Nigeria’s and West Africa’s largest airline.

At a conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, Air Peace owner, held in August, Onyema told the lawyers that 15 of his aircraft were trapped abroad while a whopping $14 million company income is held by the CBN, as unreleased forex.

Onyema in an address delivered at the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Abuja lamented over the difficulties of doing business in Nigeria, saying local investors face a lot of statutory bottlenecks which stifle their growth and even kill their businesses.

He lamented that the situation was worse for airservice operators whom he said were getting no meaningful support from the regulators.

“Air Peace has about $14 million stranded in the Central Bank of Nigeria. It is not hidden. We also have about 15 aircraft stranded abroad. Afterwards, people will say Nigerian airlines lack capacity. They do not lack capacity. What they lack is truthful government support and ease of doing business,” the Air Peace boss said.

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