Ethiopian Airlines’ $220m trapped in Nigeria, othersNigeria

(The Punch) — Ethiopian Airlines says it is unable to repatriate about $220m held in local currency in Nigeria, Egypt and some other African states because of foreign exchange scarcity in these countries.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Tewolde Gebremariam, told Reuters on Tuesday that this was partly because some countries had been hit by recent falls in oil prices, which was reducing foreign exchange inflow.

“This also means cash held in the local currencies is losing value. This is a huge challenge for us,” he was quoted to have said.

Sometime last year, the International Air Transport Association disclosed that foreign airlines’ blocked funds had risen to $591m.

IATA said repatriation issues arose in that country in the second half of 2015 when demand for foreign currency in the country outpaced supply and the country’s banks were not able to service currency repatriation.

International airlines in the country had as a result of the repatriation issues resorted to selling their tickets in dollars because of their inability to access their money trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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