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Nigeria’s Aviation Ministry “Working Hard” to Release Trapped Funds to the Emirates

Emirates announced in a statement that it has put a hold on flight operations in and out of Nigeria due to its inability to repatriate funds from the West African country. “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria and have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution. Regrettable there has been no progress,” Emirates said in a statement. The carrier said it could not access its funds amounting to $85 million withheld in the country and that the stuck funds had been rising by over $10 million every month, the airline said in a letter addressed to Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika. Sirika told CNN the trapped funds will be released as this was not the first time Nigeria was holding onto huge amounts of revenue belonging to foreign air carriers. The minister did not elaborate on what the factors were although Nigeria is grappling with shortages in foreign exchange which has restricted access to foreign currency for imports. Earlier in June, the International Air Transport Association said Nigeria was holding onto $450 million revenue belonging to foreign carriers operating in the country. Nigeria is one of Africa’s biggest markets for international carriers.