The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday said that the status of 62 private jets operating in the country remain unknown despite the conclusion of a verification exercise of import documents for privately-owned aircraft in the country by the service.

This is even as the NCS revealed that the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has been put on notice to ensure that only privately-owned aircraft duly verified, and cleared by Customs are authorized to operate within the Nigerian airspace.

In a statement signed on Tuesday by the NCS Spokesman, Joseph Attah, the NCS said that 86 private jet operators came forward during the verification exercise and 57 private jets have so far been verified.

According to the NCS statement, “I warmly welcome all of you to this media briefing to keep you updated on the outcome of an exercise duly authorized by the Management of the Service under the able leadership of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd).

“As you may recall a press conference was held on the 31st of May 2021 in which the public was notified about the commencement of verification of import documents for privately-owned aircraft in the country.

“In line with its statutory functions as provided for in PART III Section 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), all owners of private aircraft in the country were invited to come forward with their relevant importation clearance documents for verification.

“This exercise took place between the 7th of June and August 6th 2021 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service. In it the following documents were requested: Aircraft Certificate of Registration, NCAA’s Flight Operations Compliance Certificate (FOCC), NCAA’s Maintenance Compliance Certificate (MCC), and NCAA’s Permit for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) and Temporary Import Permit (TIP) (where application).

“Within the stipulated period, 86 private jets/aircraft operators showed up for the exercise and presented the relevant documents for verification. Of this number, 57 were verified as commercial charter operators and were duly cleared for operations.

“29 other private jets/aircraft were found liable for payment of Customs duty. Their values were assessed, and the appropriate demand notices were issued to their owners for the payment of outstanding duties. 

“However, 62 other private jet/aircraft whose registration numbers were duly obtained from the appropriate authority were not verified because their owners or designated representatives made no presentations to Customs that could help determine their status.

“To this effect, all 57 commercial charter jet/aircraft operators who presented their documents for verification are requested to come forward to the Tariff and Trade Department of the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3 Abuja-FCT, and Room 312 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm to collect their Aircraft Clearance Certificates.

“All 29 private jet/aircraft owners and or their representatives who have been issued with demand notices have been given (14) days from the 11th of October 2021 to collect and make payments to the designated Federal Government accounts after which they will be issued with aircraft clearance certificates.

“The owners of the 62 private aircraft for which no presentations were made for their verification, and whose status remains uncertain are requested to immediately furnish the Tariff and Trade department of the Service with the necessary documents for verification and clearance.

“The Nigeria Customs Service implores all concerned to avail themselves of this opportunity as it will not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.

“The FAAN has also been put on notice to ensure only privately-owned aircraft duly verified, and cleared by Customs are authorized to operate within our airspace.

“Attached is a list of all private jets/aircraft with their serial numbers that have been cleared for operations, those with outstanding demand notices awaiting payment, and those who have not yet presented themselves for verification and clearance.

“Still, other private jets/aircraft owners whose aircrafts’ registration and manufacturers’ serial numbers do not appear on any of the three lists, will do well to seek further clarification and clearance at Customs Headquarters to avoid embarrassment.

“The Service, therefore, looks forward to full compliance by all private jet/aircraft owners in the country.”

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