Private airplane owners shun Customs over verification order

There are indications that private airline owners have ignored the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, over the directives on verification for the purpose of the  payment of 1.0 per cent Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme levy.  Presently,  less than 10 percent of the operators have complied.

Vanguard Maritime Report  findings show that there are about 57 operators in the country but the NCS said only six have cooperated one year after the directive.

A statement by the Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, hinted of impending sanction on defaulters.

Attah, a deputy comptroller of Customs, had on behalf of the Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali, Rtd, on May 31, 2020, directed owners of private airplanes to report at the Customs head office in Abuja to carry out the audit between June 7 to July 6, 2021.

According to Attah, the audit covers   Aircraft Certificate of Registration; NCAA’s Flight Operations Compliance Certificate, FOCC, NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate, MCC), NCAA’s Permit for non- Commercial Flights, PNCF, and Temporary Import Permit, TIP,   where applicable.

The Service spokesperson said NCS made paid advertisement of invitation to private aircrafts owners for verification in some national newspapers on June 1, 2021, while online platforms have also been active on publication of the notice.

Part of the statement said: “With two weeks into the 30 days verification period, only six owners of private aircrafts 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 aircrafts.

“The Service believes that owners of private aircrafts are highly placed individuals who would be willing to comply with extant laws of the land governing importation of the aircrafts they own, this includes 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, Wuse Zone 3, HQ Abuja from 10am to 5pm. Between Monday 7th June to Tuesday 6th July, 2021.”

He said the verification is not intended to inconvenient owners of private aircrafts, noting that the affected VIPs could send their agent or representative.

The Service noted that the importance of the exercise is to ensure that all aircrafts privately owned in the8 Country were properly imported and cleared with all appropriate taxes paid.