CBN grants forex concession to airlines
• Minister, NCAA laud move, raise hope on return of foreign operators
• Apex bank resumes remittance of operating surplus to government
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted airline operators in the country a special foreign exchange (Forex) concession regime to enable clearance of outstanding debts at inter-bank market rate.
The CBN, in a memo, listed airline operators along with sectors that deal with raw materials and machineries for manufacturing companies and agricultural chemicals as some of the beneficiaries of the intervention.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have commended the initiative, saying it is in the best interest of the sector.
The CBN in the circular to the concern sectors stated: “In order to further engender market confidence, ensure access to FX by end users and sustain the integrity of the Nigerian Inter-bank FX market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resolved to intervene in the Inter-bank FX market through forward settlement.
“This is an important one-off exercise dedicated to the clearance of the backlog of matured FX obligations for raw materials and machineries for manufacturing companies, agricultural chemicals and airlines.”
In another development, the CBN has resumed the remittance of the 80 per cent operating surplus of its operation to the Consolidated Revenue of the Federal (CRF) Account in line with the provision of the 2007 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).
The apex bank remitted the sum of N182.317 billion, representing the 80 per cent of the operating surplus, according to information gleaned from the bank’s 2015 consolidated statement of account obtained in Abuja yesterday.
But a source who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said that the amount remitted for last year’s operational surplus income has grown to the new level of N182.317 billion up from the 2013 level presumably owing to the renewed vigilance and reforms such as mandating the apex bank to present its budget for approval before the National Assembly as well as the Treasury Single Account (TSA) requirements.
Sirika, who had made efforts by facilitating series of meetings between airlines and management of the CBN to ameliorate the challenges faced by the airline operators, for which some them have stopped running the Nigerian route, in a statement yesterday expressed delight, saying the move means a lot to the ministry and the airlines.
In the same vein, spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, who stated that the new concession was a welcome development, said it would be a major window for those airlines who had earlier ceased their operations to recommence in earnest.