October 1, 2022

Maritime Today Online

latest news and events in maritime and shipping

Customs beams searchlight on private jet owners over tax evasion

The Nigeria Customs Service will beginning from June 7, 2021 beam its searchlight on private jet owners who are now mandated to commence an immediate verification of their aircraft to ensure full compliance with the government’s extant laws.
Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja, on Monday said defaulters will be visited with the full weight of the law, saying no one will be treated as a sacred cow.
He said: “In line with the need to ensure strict compliance with all regulations, especially at this time of challenging security situation and reluctance of some highly placed individuals to pay taxes, Nigeria Customs Service will be taking stock of all privately owned aircrafts in the country. This is to ensure strict compliance with all relevant regulations governing importation of such aircrafts.

“Consequently, Nigeria Customs Service, in line with its statutory functions as provided for in Part III Sections 27, 35, 37, 45, 46, 47, 52, 56, 63 & 64; Part XI Sections 144, 145, 155, 160, 161 & 164 and Part XII Sections 167, 168, 169 173 & 174 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) hereby invites all the owners of Private Aircrafts in the country to come forward with their relevant importation clearance documents for verification.”

Attah further explained that the documents sought for verification are: aircraft certificate of registration, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (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 application).

He noted that all private jet owners or their representatives are to report to room 305, Tariff and Trade Department, Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abuja with all the relevant Aircraft documents for verification.

While clarifying that private jets do not pay Customs duties, Attah noted that such airplanes are expected to pay the mandatory Comprehensive Imports Supervision Scheme (CISS) charges.

“We want to ensure all charges due to the government are paid. The move is not punitive but to ensure compliance. If deficiencies are found, there will be room for correction.

“We are aware Nigeria is facing security challenges and there is a downturn in global economy and so any legitimate thing that will boost our revenue is welcome.

“We need to know who owns what and we want to know how they came in to ensure that nothing untoward happened”, he added.

On the likely sanctions defaulters might face, Attah said “I don’t want to jump the gun on sanctions. But it depends on the gravity of the offence. We are not in a position to preempt anything. We believe that private jet owners are highly-placed individuals that will do the right thing. They’ll will do what the law says”.