By Ignatius Ushie

The Hon. Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has met with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and foreign airlines operators to discuss the salient issues affecting the organizations and the country. 

While stating Nigeria’s commitment to the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA), he assured them that the aviation Ministry is concerned, and will do her very best to resolve the matter of blocked funds as soon as possible.

In a Press Release made available to Transport Day in Abuja, the minister stated that  the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria and it is not what the ministry can handle alone else it would have been resolved immediately. 

He urged the International Airline Operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issue bearing in mind the effects of Covid 19 and recession the country had experienced.

Speaking earlier, Dr Samson Fatokun, Area Manager West and Central Africa who led the delegation expressed gratitude to the honourable Minister for his continuous support for the growth of air transport in Nigeria and for the actualization of his role as catalyst for the growth of the Nigerian economy. 

He appealled to the Hon. Minister for special intervention in resolving of airlines blocked funds in Nigeria.

According to him, the airlines are facing collateral damage and the average Nigerian is bearing the brunt of this issue.

Susan Akporiaye, President National Association of Nigerian travel Agencies (NANTA) added that  “Is a very difficult time for us as some of us are already giving up on the industry and going into other business. It is our loss and also the loss of the country as we don’t sell more ticket like we use to, and this will further increase the unemployment situation if this issue is not attended to,’’ she said.