Import duty: FG summons 80 private jets owners over operating papers

Written by on June 18, 2024

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Customs Service has begun a fresh move to clamp down on operators of improperly imported private jets into the country.

Consequently, no fewer than 80 operators of private jets are expected to appear at the headquarters of the NCS in Abuja with their aircraft import documents.

The special aircraft import verification exercise, which begins on Wednesday (tomorrow), is expected to last for 30 days, according to a public notice issued by Customs.

The notice, sighted by one of our correspondents, read in part, β€œThe Nigeria Customs Service announces a verification exercise for privately owned aircraft operating in Nigeria. This exercise aims to identify improperly imported private aircraft without documentation, ensuring proper imports and maximum revenue collection.”

The exercise is expected to lead to the payment of the mandatory import duty, while aircraft operators who fail to pay may have their jets grounded.

The TIP has been described by some 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 often prefer not to pay the import, according to Customs officials.

Instead, the operators prefer to obtain a TIP under the guise that the aircraft is coming into the country for a temporary period, quoting the International Civil Aviation Organisation Convention Article 24 which focuses on Customs waiver for commercial aircraft operating in a country temporarily.

But the new leadership of Customs appears poised to get all operators to pay the import duty.

Unconfirmed sources said the government might get close to N100bn in unpaid import duty on imported private aircraft due to the high exchange rate.

This analysis is however dependent on whether the Customs chooses to implement the 25 per cent penalty fee such aircraft owners are meant to pay for delayed payment. The 25 per cent penalty fee is in addition to the statutory five per cent import duty.


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