NATIONAL Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) has welcomed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decision to grant a concession to foreign airlines on access to foreign exchange stating that it would give room for airlines to clear the backlog of unremitted funds in various banks in Nigeria.This is just as the association saluted the role of the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for giving attention to the persist advocacy of the association to the effect that capital controls placed by government were stifling development in the aviation sector making business difficult for airlines and reducing the capacity of Nigerians to embark on their legitimate travel business due to escalating air fares.
The statement jointly signed by President of the association, Mr Bankole Bernard and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olumuyiwa Salami Adebayo also advised that government should go further to take a few more steps that would ease doing business in the sector and give investors more confidence to travel down to and invest in Nigeria.
The statement reads in part: “We want to commend the Minister of Aviation and authorities at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the forex concession that were recently granted to airlines. We are happy that our advocacy on the importance of government implementing favourable policies in the aviation sector is beginning to pay off.”
The statement noted that this decision was bound to strengthen the confidence level of airlines in Nigeria’s economy and reverse all the drawbacks that the industry has suffered in the past couple of months.
It noted further that the concession would give room for the airlines to clear the backlog of unremitted funds in various banks in Nigeria which would invariably create opportunities for Nigerians to enjoy more affordable travel since “travel agencies will no longer be compelled to sell in dollars as we have seen in the earlier part of the year. This would invariably reduce the cost of tickets”
On the association’s advice that government should go further to take a few more steps that would ease doing business in the sector the statement advised that government should: “focus on the domestic carriers by creating an aviation intervention fund to help them stabilize and compete with their peers in other markets. Government should also consider granting licenses to companies that intend to set up Maintenance, Repairs and Overhauling (MRO) facilities in the country as this would help in arrears of developing manpower, by offering training simulations to our personnel within the industry.”
NANTA concluded the statement by “assuring our readiness to partner with government, its agencies and other professional bodies in the sector to build a world-class aviation industry for the country. We are convinced that aviation remains an important factor to the social economic development of the country and her ever ready to play our part”