By Chinedu Eze
The African Export-Import Bank, (Afreximbank) has said that it stated partnering with Nigeria’s biggest carrier, Arik air from inception and pledged to continue to strengthen its relationship with the airline.
The bank said it would give the Nigerian carrier support in the areas it can in recognition of the current economic challenges facing the country.
According to the President of the Bank, Benedict Oramah, “We are doing this because of the essential role Arik Air is playing in connecting people across Africa and making sure goods are delivered across the continent. So, we want to make sure they are strengthened to do that. We also understand the difficulties in the environment, not only in Nigeria, but in most African countries.
“So, at this time, as a bank created to deal with or support our clients under such situations. We also wanted to be briefed on how these things are affecting the company and what we can do to make sure they ride through the situation,” Oramah explained after a facility tour of Arik with top officials from the bank.
He reiterated that Arik is a long-standing client of the Bank as they have worked together for several years, building a mutually rewarding partnership.
He disclosed that the bank had supported the airline in acquiring some of their aircraft, adding that Arik Air has lived up to the bank’s expectations.
“So this visitation is essential for us as a bank to see what the airline is doing and to listen to them about their future plans because we are promoting intra African trade with Arik Air as a strategic partner in promoting intra-African trade,” Oramah added.
In response, Chairman, Arik Air, Joseph Arumami-Ikhidi said the bank reviewed the airline’s operation and looked at their operations vis-à-vis the plans.
According to him, “They reviewed everything and we gave them a summary of all that have happened and they too had their facts and figures and acquainted themselves with all our operations such as the difficulties, challenges and other things.
“The bank is set to promote intra-African trade, connect people and goods, which Arik Air has been doing. They also looked at our future plans.”
He confirmed that the bank has been with the airline since inception, adding that Arik Air also has strategic partnership with a lot of institutions such as the American Exim Bank, Export Development, Canada (EDC), Afre-exim Bank and others.