The federal government has banned 91 private jets for owing import duties in excess of N30bn.
This was disclosed in a letter with reference number NCS/T&T/ACG/042/s.100/VOL.II, which was dated November 2, 2021, and addressed to the Director-General, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu.
The letter was also addressed and sent to the Managing Director, FAAN, Capt Rabiu Yadudu; and the Managing Director, NAMA, Capt Fola Akinkuotu.
It was titled, ‘Recovery of Aviation Import Duty on Privately Owned Aircraft Operating in the Country.’
The NCAA letter read in part, “The Federal Government in its drive for enhanced revenues has mandated the Nigeria Customs Service to immediately recover from defaulting private aircraft owners the required statutory import duties on their imported aircraft.
“You may wish to recall the verification exercise conducted by the NCS, initially scheduled for a 14 day period, but magnanimously extended over a 60-day period from 7th June through 6 August 2021, following a World Press Conference held on 31st May 2021. The outcome of the aforementioned verification exercise is a compilation of all private aircraft imported into the country without payment of statutory import duty.
“The Nigeria Custom Service, in line with its statutory functions, is empowered by Part 111 Sections 27, 35, 37, 45,46, 47, 52, 56,63 & 64; Part XI Sections 144, 145, 155, 160, 161& 164 and Part XII Sections 167, 168, 169, 173 & 174 of the Customs and Excise Management Act.”
It further read, “In this regard, therefore, your full cooperation is being solicited to ensure the success of this initiative and that all such private aircraft owners or representatives are denied administrative and operational flight clearances indefinitely, until an NCS issued Aircraft Clearance Certificate is procured and presented to your organisation as proof of compliance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, ALL aircraft operated in accordance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s regulation for the issuance of Permit for Non-Commercial Flight and those issued with Flight Operations Clearance Certificate and Maintenance Clearance Certificate accordingly are affected by this directive.
“Please find attached the list of all verified aircraft and indeed others of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s register, which may not have come forward for your record and necessary action. Strict compliance with this directive is to be ensured. Please accept the assurances of my highest regards and esteem as always.”
“The 91 private jets owe import duties in excess of N30bn and the Federal Government has directed that the Customs must recover this money. This is why we have sent demand notices to the private jet owners,” a Customs source privy to the development told The Punch on condition of anonymity.
NewsWireNGR recalls the Customs had said in August that 30 out of 65 private jets verified so far are liable to pay required duties to the Federal Government.
The Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr Joseph Attah, had at the time further disclosed that with the impact of the first two weeks extension for the defaulters, the service again gave another two weeks which commenced from Monday, July 26, to Friday, August 6.
“Considering the rising number of compliance and the number of jets that are liable for payment of duties as well as indications by those people to do so, the Comptroller-General has again graciously given them another two weeks.
“The exercise as I stated in our previous briefings, is not intended to be punitive or to embarrass them but to ensure that these private jets that operate in the country are properly documented.
“And also, to ensure every collectable revenue is collected into the coffers of the Federal Government.
“As you all know the case of increasing economic challenge, every source of revenue is important to the government and beyond that, for security purpose.
“With this, you can now tie proper ownership to every aircraft or private jet that flies into and out of the country. Through the exercise, we have been able to know those hiding under temporary importation agreement.
“We are aware that owners of private jets are highly placed Nigerians who should be respected and approached in a manner that provides all necessary convenience and that is what these extensions stands for,” he explained.