There are indications that at least 46.1 per cent of the owners of the 65 private aircraft verified by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) still owe the Federal Government Customs Duties despite the deadline for payment.
The NSC’s Public Relations Officer,
Deputy Controller, Joseph Attah, said in Abuja that some of the planes came into the country under temporary importation agreements allowing them in without payment because they were secured by bond.
According to him, many of the owners failed to pay after the expiration of the agreement, which necessitated the verification.
Attah lamented the Federal Government has been losing revenues because of the development. He said the service had given another two-week extension (July 26 to August 6) to those owing to pay up, saying that it would be the last.
The spokesman warned that any private plane owner who fails to turn up for the verification would have their aircraft impounded. Attah added that the verification had given an opportunity to the service to differentiate between planes being used for commercial operations and private purposes.
Attah said: “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.
To ensure that 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 a proper ownership to every plane 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 extension stands for.”
The service had on May 31 declared its intention to audit all imported private aircraft operating in the country from June 7 to July 6, which it later extended to July, 20.
It stated that the documents sought for the verification include Aircraft Certificate of Registration; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)’s Flight Operations Compliance Certificate (FOCC); NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate (MCC); NCAA’s permit for non- Commercial Flights (PNCF) and Temporary Import Permit (TIP) where applicable