(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)
Dhaka: Bangladesh has withheld USD 208 million of airline funds for repatriation, said International Air Transport Association (IATA), making it one of the top five countries in the world along with Nigeria and Pakistan, to use the funds as an easy way to shore up their depleted treasuries.
IATA on December 7 warned that the amount of airline funds for repatriation being blocked by governments has risen by over 25 per cent (USD 394 million) in the last six months to nearly USD 2 billion currently.
Over 27 countries and territories are blocking funds from repatriation, the IATA said in a press release.
Nigeria tops the list with USD 551 million of blocked funds, followed by Pakistan at USD 225 million and Bangladesh coming in the third position with USD 208 million, it said.
Lebanon (USD 144 million) and Algeria (USD 140 million) are the other two countries to feature in this list, it added.
Emirates briefly reinstated flights to the worst offender Nigeria after the country's central bank promised to return a portion of the airline's blocked funds, however, reports citing Emirates saying it is still to see any of the USD 85 million in blocked funds in Nigeria returned.
So far, Emirates is the only airline to abandon Nigeria due to blocked funds but in the worst-case scenario.
IATA has called on governments to remove all barriers to airlines repatriating their revenues from ticket sales and other activities, in line with international agreements and treaty obligations.
“Preventing airlines from repatriating funds may appear to be an easy way to shore up depleted treasuries, but eventually the local economy will pay a high price,' said Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA.
'No business can sustain providing service if they cannot get paid and this is no different for airlines. Air links are a vital economic catalyst. Enabling the efficient repatriation of revenues is critical for any economy to remain globally connected to markets and supply chains,' Walsh added.
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