National President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole made this known while speaking at Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative quarter three breakfast meeting held at the Golfview Hotel and Suites in Lagos.
Speaking on the topic titled, “Effect of Foreign Exchange Scarcity on Travel Agency Sales”, said that if agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) effects a policy and the Ministry of Finance acts in another way does not augur well for the country’s economy.
According to him, in such situations investors are wary to invest in an insecure and inconsistent economic environment.
Bankole flayed the recent trend where Nigerians continuously talk about the US Dollar instead of the Naira; the legal tender in the country, saying that Nigeria got it wrong and that it would be better for the country to retrace her steps.
He added that the promotion of the Dollar to the detriment of the Naira in Nigeria cannot happen anywhere in the world, adding that in the United States for example such cannot happen, wondering why Nigeria’s case should be different.
On Dollar scarcity, he said that while the currency is scarce in banks, those operating parallel market also known Black Markets are having it in abundance, wondering how Dollars find their way to the Black Market.
He said, “When you approach banks they tell you that Dollar is scarce. How does Dollar navigate itself to the Black Market? If Dollars are not available in the banks, how come the man on the street is getting it? This is one question that is begging for answer.”
He stated that the scarcity of Dollar was affecting NANTA’s 6,000 travel agencies, imagining what would happen if the owners decides to shut down.
Bankole added that the scarcity is affecting airlines, travel agencies, air travellers and the nation’s economy.
The NANTA boss pointed out that Nigeria is in this mess because of it’s over reliance on oil as the main stay of the economy, praying that God should allow the oil prices to fall so that Nigeria and Nigerians can think outside the box.
He stated that because of the effect ,NANTA had been engaging airlines on how best to tackle the challenge, adding that presently the ticket sale have reduced compared to what the agencies sold at the same period in 2015.
Bankole rued the fact that airlines were adopting all kind of measures for survival and that if airlines are selling tickets in Dollars, he wondered where travel agencies would get the dollars from.
He argued that the charges the Federal Government collects from airlines could be paid for in Naira, calling on Nigerians to have a change of mind, as according to him Dollar as currency is not Nigeria’s legal tender.
“Aviation around the world is driving by the private sector, why is Nigeria’s case different? He asked
He continued, “The question we need to ask is who is scamming who? Can we just go back and re- examines ourselves. If we continue like this, the industry will collapse.”