Investors Bearish on Tinubu’s Reforms as Multinational carriers ponder Nigeria exit


Major international airlines, such as Turkish Airlines, Emirates Airlines, and British Airways, are contemplating an exit from Nigeria unless the funds currently held in the country are promptly released. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) disclosed during a media briefing that Nigeria bears a substantial burden, accounting for nearly half of the blocked or trapped funds totaling US$2.57 billion in the African and Middle Eastern regions.

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Kamil Alawadhi, Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, emphasized this concern, citing Nigeria’s outstanding debt to these foreign airlines at $792 million, a figure close to half of the combined indebtedness of Egypt, Algeria, the XAF zone, and Ethiopia. The situation, if left unaddressed, raises the specter of potential blacklisting of Nigeria as a no-fly area, prompting suggestions for the Federal Government to consider declaring a state of emergency in the aviation sector.

In addition to the grim financial scenario, Alawadhi warned of far-reaching consequences for Nigeria’s aviation industry, including reduced airline capacity, diminished connectivity, and a detrimental impact on the country’s business environment. The repercussions extend to escalated ticket prices for both domestic and international travel, exacerbating an already soaring trend.

The IATA executive underscored the potential negative effects on investor confidence and foreign direct investment, accentuating the looming departure of multinational companies like Procter & Gamble. The risk of a cascading effect on the travel agency business further adds to the urgency of resolving the trapped funds issue.

Alawadhi stressed the critical role of cash flow in sustaining airline operations, emphasizing that failure to repatriate funds severely constrains market reach and operational capabilities. He urged the Nigerian government to prioritize aviation in foreign exchange allocation, emphasizing air connectivity as a pivotal economic catalyst that, if neglected, could erode competitiveness, diminish investor confidence, and tarnish the country’s reputation as a high-risk business environment.

Gbenga Samson
Gbenga Samson
Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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