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Dhaka Tribune

BB tells banks to quickly pay foreign airlines their due

'The actual volume of dues was $177.79 million, not $214 million'

Update : 07 Jun 2023, 04:45 PM

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Tuesday instructed concerned banks to expedite payment of dues to foreign airliners.

In a press briefing, the central bank hoped the issue of payments to the aviation companies would be dealt with from Wednesday, Bangladesh Bank spokesperson Md Abul Bashar said on Tuesday.

The Bangladesh Bank's intervention comes following media reports that Bangladesh has failed to pay at least $214 million for both cargo and passengers to the airlines concerned due to the dollar crisis.

Disagreeing with the reported withholding fund, Bashar said they have collected details from the banks and learned that the actual volume of dues was $177.79 million, not $214 million.

"Seven domestic and international banks owe money to foreign airlines. We checked that the banks have enough capacity to pay in dollars. We instructed them to take immediate measures to this effect."

"Maybe, the volume of dues will decline within a few days," added Bashar, also a Bangladesh Bank executive director.

Sharing recent statistics of payment to both cargo and passenger carriers, he said a total of $402.18 million has so far been paid in the aviation sector this year.

Citing a circular of the Foreign Exchange Operation Department, Bashar said the government was considering selling fuel oil to the airlines in local currency to reduce pressure on the forex market.

"The airlines have the opportunity to pay oil prices in our currency," he added.

Currently, most airlines buy fuel oil in dollars from Bangladeshi oil companies.

Recently, the International Air Transport Association, the trade body of some 300 airlines that controls around 83% of total air traffic, said Bangladesh was the worst next to Nigeria in terms of blocking funds of carriers.

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