The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has commended the federal government for granting a seven per cent tax waiver on imported aircraft and spares into the country.
The operators also appreciated the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for the support it has given to the airline commercial owners.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the airline operators said the government had been prompt in responding to the request made by the association.
The Vice Chairman of AON, Allen Onyema, explained that the Senate Committee on Aviation held an interactive meeting with all the aviation agencies in Nigeria led by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
He said all the Nigerian airlines represented by the AON leadership had made presentation to the government.
According to the statement, Onyema noted that the presentation made by the AON to the senate committee had yielded a positive response from the government and support from the Nigeria Customs Service.
Onyema said, “The meeting was called by the Senate to discuss the reasons for the recent upsurge in flight delays and flight cancellations amongst other issues and challenges facing the aviation industry.
“It was on this occasion that AON made its presentation of challenges facing all the airlines. Our member airlines were present but we made an articulated collective presentation to the Senate, which I read as the vice president on behalf of the association.
“It was on this occasion that the AON presented the issue of the partial implementation of the Finance Act 2020 which prohibits the payment of duties and Value Added Tax on imported aircraft and aircraft spares by the Customs Service.
“Of note was the presence of a seven per cent surcharge on the assessed duties which was not supposed to be. This caused delays in the clearance of aircraft and aircraft spares leading to grounding of aircraft that would have been flying.”
He noted that after the senate meeting, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and Sirika were contacted by the airlines on the challenges.
The AON noted that since 7th July, airlines have been clearing their aircraft spares without having to pay a seven per cent surcharge.
Onyema said, “AON, for the avoidance of doubt, commends the Federal Government for its unflinching support for the growth of indigenous investments in Nigeria.
“This was very evident in the manner the government got this challenge addressed immediately within 48 hours to the joy of the airlines.
“We equally commend the Nigerian Customs Service for also assisting the airlines, including but not limited to Air Peace, which was used as an example, in getting their aircraft spares and aircraft released.”
He added that the planes so far cleared had started flying.