Foreign airlines that operate in the nation but refuse to accept naira as payment for tickets have been threatened with sanctions by the federal government.
At a press conference held today following the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced this.
He claimed that according to intelligence inputs, some airlines refuse to sell in naira and instead charge ticket prices in dollars, contravention of Nigerian law.
The minister revealed that any of these airlines found breaking the law will be dealt with by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“Refusing to sell tickets in Naira, and blocking access to cheaper seats, are violations of our local laws,” “We will not allow it, all violators will be sanctioned,” the minister said.
Speaking on foreign airlines’ trapped funds, he said the CBN is working to ensure that airline funds are not trapped.
“We are doing everything to make these airlines happy in Nigeria. We need their services; they need our market,” he added.
Sirika further admonished them not to use social media to make demands but rather to use diplomatic channels.
He claims that since 2016, foreign airlines have earned over 1.1 billion dollars from Nigeria, money that would have stayed in the nation if the airlines were domestic.
He added that the airlines transferred about 265 million dollars this year, in addition to the over 600 million dollars they released to their home nations in 2016.