Rather than going through the obvious and difficult process of repatriating its funds out of Nigeria, South African Airways (SAA) has just announced that from Wednesday, August 10, 2022, it will start adjusting its tickets from naira to dollars with the aim of making it seamless for its funds to be repatriated to its home country rather than getting them trapped in Nigeria.
The development is coming while the $450 million funds belonging to the foreign carriers operating in Nigeria have been trapped in the country.
In a statement issued and addressed to its trade partners on Tuesday evening, the Southern African carrier declared that from Wednesday, August 10, 2022, passengers can only issue Sold Inside Ticketed Inside (SITI), that is, trips emanating from Lagos-Johannesburg-Lagos tickets in naira.
In other words, all tickets issued in Nigeria will be paid for in naira in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy that tickets issued in the country should be paid for in naira.
The airline, however, added that all other tickets, such as Sold Outside Ticket Inside (SOTI) and Sold Outside Ticketed Outside (SOTO), that is, tickets issued outside, would be paid for in dollars.
Under the latest arrangements, tickets sold outside and tickets issued outside the country would be issued in dollars.
In the notice issued to its trade partners, the airline stated: “Please be informed that effective from Wednesday 10th August 2022, you can ONLY issue SITI (i.e. LOS-JNB-LOS) tickets in Naira. ALL other tickets, i.e. SOTI and SOTO, have to be issued in USD.
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“Note only tickets with travel originating from Nigeria can be issued in naira”.
The latest announcement by South African Airways may have been triggered by the inability of the over 27 foreign carriers operating in Nigeria to repatriate their accumulated $450 million funds trapped in the CBN without any hope of getting the funds back to their home countries.
Many of the foreign carriers, out of frustration, have introduced other tough policies that will help cushion the impact of the trapped funds on their operations.
Such policies, which include an increase in fares on the different international routes and the suspension of the sale of cheaper tickets, have subjected Nigerian travellers to serious hardships with the fares on the Nigerian route becoming the most expensive in the sub-region.