The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to convene quarterly meetings with foreign airlines operating in the country to address the issue of trapped funds.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said this at the 7th ongoing Aviation Summit in Abuja, on Wednesday.

Easitimes reported that the directive came as a result of numerous complaints from foreign airlines, who had reported difficulties in repatriating their funds, due to Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy.

The minister said a proactive approach was necessary to find a lasting solution to this ongoing issue, and that the Federal government was addressing the challenges associated with foreign exchange supply which resulted in the huge amounts owed the foreign carriers.

He said,” The current administration is aware that one of the setbacks entrepreneurs have suffered in Nigeria in recent years is the fluctuation of foreign exchange and its availability. This administration is committed to ensuring that forex is readily available to entrepreneurs and I have directed that the Central Bank of Nigeria hold quarterly reconciliation meetings with a view to resolving this issue.”

He said that addressing the issue of trapped funds was one of the reasons the President was in the United Arab Emirates recently.

He added,” The current administration is open to providing tax holidays to encourage existing and new entrants into the Nigerian Aviation Sector.

“I wish to reiterate that my administration, will continue to sustain the support being given to the industry.”

The minister also unveiled three roadmap projects comprising Aerotropolis, Aircraft Leasing Company and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility.

Meanwhile, the Vice president, IATA, Africa and Middle East, Kamil Al Alwadi, IATA berated Nigeria over high airport charges.

He said, “In a recent research conducted web discovered that the most expensive airport in Africa is Abuja airport, followed by Lagos airport, with all these exorbitant charges, Nigerian airlines can’t compete with their foreign counterparts.

“Africa has put itself in a place where it cannot help its own, expensive fuel, excessive charges, leasing and insurance through the roof, the airlines need to be financially viable too. The airlines contribute the country but Nigeria needs to to decide what to do to them to survive.”