DUTIES: 30 Private Jets Risk Customs Seizure

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has demanded payment of duties on 30 private jets using the nation’s airspace.

The 30 are among the 65 verified  private airplanes whose owners are believed to have evaded the payments after Temporary Importation Agreements on their jets expired.

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Temporary Importation Agreement  allows private jets to be brought in the country without duty payments because they were secured by bonds.

NCS spokesperson, Joseph Attah, made this known on Sunday August 1st to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Attah explained that an earlier date given to the owners to make the payments was extended by two weeks to August 6.

He warned that any owner that failed to pay by the August 6 deadline would have his private jet impounded.

He added that with the verification and willingness of the owners to pay, more revenue would be accrued to the Federal Government.

The NCS spokesman said that  the verification had also given the opportunity to the NCS to  clearly differentiate    airplanes used for commercial operations from those owned and used for private purposes.

Attah restated that the exercise (verification) was not meant to embarrass anybody but to ensure that the right or required duties were paid to the government.

His words: “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 NCS Comptroller-General, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), has again graciously given them another two weeks.

“The exercise is not intended to be punitive or to embarrass them but to ensure that these private jets that operate in the country were properly documented.

“And also, to ensure every collectible 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 purposes.

“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 stand for.”

Attah said he would not disclose the names of the “respected Nigerian” owners of the verified aircraft.

He however explained the Valuation Unit of the NSC had been mandated to determine the duty to be paid on each of the 30 private aircraft on the first batch.

His words: “What the verification has so far revealed is what I have unveiled. Those numbers have been referred to the valuation unit. They will value it and a declaration will be made for appropriate payment. I cannot speculate”.

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