The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised Airline operators to operate with renewed vigour having secured a special sectoral Foreign Exchange (Forex) allocation in the Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS).
Director-General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman, who gave the advice in a statement issued in Lagos, explained that the forex concession was to further engender market confidence, ensure access to forex by the airlines and sustain the integrity of the Nigerian Inter-bank forex market.
The forex concession was recently granted to the airlines by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a result of the intervention of the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.
“The CBN has resolved pursuant to the minister’s show of concern to intervene in the inter-bank forex market through forward settlement. For clarity, the SMIS retail is an important one-off exercise dedicated to the clearance of the backlog of matured forex obligation for airlines’’, Usman said.
According to the statement, this success is another step ahead in seamless operations in the aviation industry.
“It is expected that this is a major window for those airlines that had earlier ceased their operations to recommence in earnest.
“Therefore, with this intervention comes a landmark incentive for both local and foreign operators to carry out safe, secure and lucrative operations in Nigeria.
“In addition, all scheduled and mandatory checks which are done in the Diasporas will be undertaken with this leverage at a reduced cost.
“The NCAA therefore, expects the foreign operators to carry out their operations with renewed vigour,’’ the statement said.
It added that all problems associated with repatriation were now a foregone conclusion.
It advised all airline operators to take full advantage of this laudable gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria and adhere strictly to the provisions of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with Nigeria.
Usman had earlier led a delegation of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to meet with the Ministers of State for Aviation, Finance and their Petroleum counterparts, including the CBN Governor.
As a result of the meeting, Sirika was able to extricate for the foreign airlines, 50 per cent clearance of their forex obligations.