FG Summons Private Jets Owners Over Improper Importation, Others

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The Federal Government has asked owners of private jets in the country to present their documents for verification.

It gave the order in a notice through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The NCS said the exercise aims to identify improperly imported private aircraft without documentation, ensure proper imports, and for maximum revenue collection.

“The Nigeria Customs Service announces a verification exercise for privately owned aircraft operating in Nigeria,” the statement read.

“This exercise aims to identify improperly imported private aircraft without documentation, ensuring proper imports and maximum revenue collection.”

The exercise will start on Wednesday (tomorrow) and is expected to last for 30 days. The venue is the Tariff and Trade Department Room, Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters at No 4 Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3 in Abuja.

It said the verification exercise will be held from 10:00 am – to 5:00 pm daily.

According to the notice, owners and operators of private jets in the country are to come with some relevant documents.

These include 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).

The development comes one year after the FG put on hold the exercise. The government had planned to recover import duty running into billions of naira from some private jet operators who had taken advantage of technical loopholes, to evade the payment of import duty.

Sometime in 2021, about 17 owners of foreign-registered private jets, comprising top business moguls, leading commercial banks, and other rich Nigerians, dragged the Federal Government to court, seeking to stop the grounding of their planes over alleged import duty default.

This came after the Federal Government approved the decision of the NCS, to ground about 91 private jets over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to over N30bn.

The NCS had in 2021 embarked on a review of import duties paid on private jets brought into the country since 2006.

NCAA Threatens Sanctions

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority in March cautioned private jet owners holding non-commercial flight permits against conducting commercial flight activities, threatening them with severe penalties for non-compliance.

According to Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, owners of PNCF are prohibited from using their aircraft for transporting passengers, cargo, or mail for payment or compensation (commercial operations or charter services).

He said the directive aligns with Section 32 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022, and emphasised that the NCAA will take enforcement measures against any PNCF holder caught engaging in unauthorised operations, including suspension, withdrawal, or revocation of their Permit for Non-Commercial Flight.

“The public is hereby notified that it is illegal to engage PNCF holders for commercial purposes,” the statement partly read.

He hinted that NCAA officials have been deployed to General Aviation Terminals and private wings of the airports to monitor the activities of the PNCF holders.

Reiterating the NCAA’s firm stance on zero tolerance for violations of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023, Achimugu emphasized that the NCAA would persist in enforcing strict compliance by implementing suitable sanctions.

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