The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has read a riot act to private aircraft owners, warning those who are yet to bring their documents for verification to do so before the expiration of the grace period on July 6, or risk having their private jets impounded.
The Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah, gave the warning on Monday at a media briefing to update the public on the ongoing audit of privately-owned aircraft operating in Nigeria.
The NCS had on May 31, 2021 unfolded plans to carry out a comprehensive audit of private jets imported into Nigeria; to ensure that all appropriate revenues of government were not evaded or operating rules breached.
According to Attah, “within two weeks into the 30 days verification period, only six owners of private aircraft have responded to the invitation, necessitating this update and reminder to those who have not responded, to do so in other to avoid possible detention of their aircraft.
“We learnt some are coming today or tomorrow for verification. We also know that some brought their private jets under temporary import certificate, which has expired and not renewed. These are infractions.
“At the end of the verification, some of the things we want to expose will come to light. We will make our findings known on July 6 after the expiration of the 30-day grace window.
Those in default risk detention of their aircraft as nobody is above the law”, he stated.
Attah explained that the Customs management believes that owners of private aircraft are highly placed individuals who would be willing to comply with extant laws governing the importation of the aircraft they own; including payments of all appropriate duties and taxes.
“As agency of government responsible for enforcement of laws governing imports and exports in Nigeria, NCS will not hesitate to invoke appropriate sanctions on any defaulting private aircraft owner immediately after the expiration of the verification period on Tuesday 6th July, 2021.
“For the avoidance of doubt, private aircrafts owners or their representatives are to report to room 305, Tariff & Trade Departments, Nigeria Customs Service headquarters, Abuja, from 10am to 5pm. Between Monday 7th June to Tuesday 6th July, 2021”, Attah explained.
The Customs spokesman emphasized that the ongoing verification was not intended to inconvenience any owner of a private aircraft, as such individual or representative can come with the documents for verification.
“What is important is to ensure that all aircraft privately owned in the country were properly imported and cleared with all appropriate taxes paid”, he said.