By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that it will sanction airlines caught selling tickets in dollars.
Some airlines have reportedly resorted to selling tickets in dollars over the difficulty of repatriating their funds from the government’s coffers.
Sundiata Post recalls that Emirates Airlines temporarily stopped flights to and from Nigeria recently due to its 85 million dollars held by the Nigerian government.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting while speaking with journalists, informed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been instructed to swing into action by protecting the interest of Nigerians against such practices of selling tickets in dollars.
He said: ”I want to use this opportunity to say that reports are reaching us that some of the airlines are refusing to sell tickets in naira. That is a violation of our local laws, they will not be allowed.
”The high and the mighty amongst them will be sanctioned, if they’re caught doing that.”
The minister further disclosed that the foreign airlines made over 1.1 billion dollars from Nigeria in 2016, when the Buhari’s administration cleared the 600 million dollars it inherited from previous government.
Sirika recalled that the airlines remitted over 600 million dollars to their home countries in 2016 while over 265 million dollars had also been released this year out of about 484 million dollars due to them.
According to him, the government is trying to keep the airlines happy by ensuring that their money does not pile up again, saying that while the country needs their services, the airlines need the Nigerian market.