The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) says the federal government and its relevant agencies deserve commendation for the speedy resolution of the vexatious trapped funds of foreign airlines in Nigeria, noting that the gesture positively deepens the image of Nigeria as a destination with global rubrics on trade and investments.

President of NANTA, Yinka Folami, disclosed in Lagos that his association whose members and the Nigerian travelling public bore the major brunt of the impact of the trapped funds, is impressed with the collective strategic intervention of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ( FCCPC), noting that their synergy and collaboration contributed to the current stability in the travel trade market in Nigeria. He urged that the laudable tone of equity and fairplay on the lips of the honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development (Festus Keyamo, SAN) and the collaborative Inter-Agency Committee on Review of Airfares and Good Practices (NCAA, FCCPC, and NANTA) should continue for continuous monitoring and stability.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) at its meeting in Dubai few days ago also thumbed up the commitment of Nigeria to fully settle the issue of trapped funds of its members, appealing that the outstanding 19 million dollars be sorted out and paid; a development NANTA also thinks is desirable to further stabilise fare pricing in Nigeria.

“We sincerely urge the CBN to help clear the balance of 19 million dollars owed the foreign airlines and we also expect the foreign airlines to reciprocate by being further receptive in lowering fares and also to work collaboratively to stop the migration of Nigerian travel trade opportunities to cross border trading” Mr Yinka Folami explained further.

Proposing stronger and more enduring environment for stable growth of the market, NANTA president urged IATA to be more sensitive to the issues of point of sales and the worrisome shrinking Nigerian market, driven by the pattern of application of ROE by IATA which, perhaps unintentionally, drives speculation, encouraging parallel market purchases and pressures on Naira; with the consequent undesirable purchase of Nigeria tickets out of Nigeria. Sadly leading to the migration of Nigerian Market.

“We believe and trust that IATA can be more circumspect and supportive to check these trends and also show commitment to supporting our government and our businesses as they have done elsewhere. This government has lived up to its promises and deserves support from foreign partners to ensure that our people and businesses are treated with same measure of respect and commitment to shared objectives” NANTA president emphasised.

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