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Trapped revenue: Reps to meet Emirates over planned suspension of flights to Nigeria

  The house of representatives is scheduled to meet with aviation stakeholders, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA)...


The house of representatives is scheduled to meet with aviation stakeholders, including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) over Emirates Airlines’ planned suspension of flight operations to Nigeria.


On Thursday, Emirates Airlines said it would suspend its flight operations to Nigeria starting from September 1, 2022, over its inability to repatriate earnings in foreign exchange to the tune of $85 million from Nigeria.


Nigeria is facing a forex exchange crisis and this has seen the naira depreciate against the dollar.


In a tweet on Thursday, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) lamented the inability of foreign airlines to repatriate about $464 million in earnings due to the shortfall of foreign exchange (FX) and a dwindling reserve.


 “IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July.” the tweet reads.


Consequently, in a statement issued on Friday, Yahaya Danzaria, clerk to the House of Representatives, said the house was making arrangements to meet with relevant stakeholders involved in the matter.


He said Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, has directed that a meeting with aviation stakeholders be scheduled to “find urgent solutions” to the issue.


According to the statement, those invited to the meeting include the minister of finance, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on ease of doing business, minister for aviation, director-general of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), country representatives of IATA, and country manager of Emirate.


Others are chairpersons of the House of Representatives committees on aviation, finance and banking and currency.


“The honourable speaker, house of representatives, rt. hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the house of representatives have been briefed on the disturbing notice of withdrawal of services recently issued by some international airline operators in the country,” the statement reads.


“He has, therefore, requested the chairman house committee on aviation (hon. Nnoli Nnaji) and house of representatives management to immediately set a date for a meeting with all stakeholders in the aviation sector and the executive arm of government to find urgent solutions to the issues in contention.”


Danzaria said the date for the meeting will be fixed and communicated to the invited stakeholders.


 “The honourable speaker requests all parties in the matter, and specifically, Emirates airlines to suspend any action and await the outcome of the meeting,” he added.

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