Import duties: Customs issues 14-days-ultimatum to private jet owners

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to impound about 29 private airplanes in the country following the inability of the owners to pay statutory import duties.

Customs’ spokesman, Mr Joseph Attah, told a news conference that the 29 airplanes would be impounded if the owners did not show up at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given.

On May 31, Customs announced its plan to verify import documents of privately-owned aeroplanes in the country. The exercise took place between June 7 and Aug. 6 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service.

Attah explained that within the stipulated period, 86 private jets or airplane operators showed up for the exercise and presented relevant documents for verification. He added that 57 of them were verified as commercial charter operators and were duly cleared for operations.

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He said the 29 private jets/airplanes owners and or their representatives were issued with demand notices on Oct. 11 and were given 14 days to make payments to designated Federal Government accounts. He said they would be issued Aircraft Clearance Certificates after payment.

“Owners of private aircraft for which no presentations were made for verification, and whose status remains uncertain are requested to immediately furnish Customs Service with documents for verification and clearance.

“To this effect, all 57 commercial charter jets or aircraft operators who presented their documents for verification are requested to come to the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abuja, to collect their clearance certificates.“

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All 29 private jets/aircraft owners and or their representatives who have been issued with demand notices have 14 days from Oct. 11 to collect and make payments to the designated Federal Government accounts.

“They will be issued with Aircraft Clearance Certificates after payment,’’ Attah said.

The spokesperson implored all concerned to avail themselves of this opportunity, as Customs would not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.

Attah also told newsmen that the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria had been put on notice to ensure that only privately-owned airplanes cleared by Customs were allowed to operate within the country’s airspace.

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