FG Summons 80 Private Jet Owners Over Operating Documents

Federal Government Launches Fresh Crackdown on Improperly Imported Private Jets
Private jets
Private jetsstock photo

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has initiated a new effort to curb the importation of private jets without proper documentation, with over 80 operators expected to present their aircraft import documents for verification at the NCS headquarters in Abuja.

The special aircraft import verification exercise, which began on Wednesday and will last for 30 days, aims to identify improperly imported private aircraft.

The exercise requires private jet owners and operators to present specific documents, including the aircraft Certificate of Registration, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Flight Operation Compliance Certificate, NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate, NCAA’s Permit for Non-Commercial Flights, and Temporary Import Permit (if applicable).

This move comes more than a year after the Federal Government suspended a similar action. In the past three years, the government had planned to recover billions of naira in import duty from private jet operators who had exploited technical loopholes to evade payment.

Although some operators paid the mandatory import duty after the Hameed Ali-led NCS took steps to recover the revenue, many others have yet to comply.

Private jet operators have allegedly used the Temporary Import Permit (TIP) to fraudulently avoid paying the statutory import duty. The TIP, which is initially valid for 12 months, can be extended twice for six months each. However, several operators have continued to extend the TIP indefinitely, prompting the Customs to implement past clampdowns.

The exercise is expected to lead to the payment of mandatory import duty, and operators who fail to pay may have their jets grounded. The TIP has been criticized by stakeholders as a fraudulent means of evading the mandatory import duty.

Importers of private jets, especially foreign-registered private jets, are expected to pay five per cent of the value of the private jet as import duty. However, due to the high cost of private jets, some owners prefer not to pay the import duty.

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