The Honourable Minister of State for Aviation, Honourable Hadi Sirika, has finally secured a special sectorial allocation of forex for Airline Operators in the Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) for Airline operators.

This is to further engender market confidence, ensure access to forex by the airlines and sustain the integrity of the Nigerian Inter-bank forex market.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (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 Special Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) – Retail is an important one-off exercise dedicated to the clearance of the backlog of matured forex obligation for airlines.

It is, however, worthy to note that other sectors were similarly availed priority in the inter-bank forex market. These are Raw Materials and machineries for manufacturing companies and Agricultural chemicals.

It will be recalled that the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had earlier led a delegation of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to hold meetings with the Ministers of State for Aviation, Finance and their Petroleum counterpart including the CBN Governor.

As a result of the meeting, Honourable Sirika was able to extricate for the foreign airlines 50 per cent clearance of their forex obligations. This present success is another step ahead in seamless operations in the aviation industry.

It is expected that this is a major window for those airlines which 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 diaspora will be undertaken with this leverage at a reduced cost.

The Director General of the Regulatory Authority, NCAA, therefore expects the foreign operators to carry out their operations with renewed vigour.

According to him, all problems associated with repatriation is now a foregone conclusion. He 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 (BASA) with Nigeria.