BUSINESS

91 private jet owners fail Customs’ verification test, risk forfeiture

No fewer than 91 out of 147 identified owners and operators of private jets in the country have failed the verification test conducted by the Nigerian Customs Service (NSC).

“Of the number of defaulters released yesterday, a total of 62 allegedly refused to show up for the mandatory verification exercise, while 29 others were found liable for default in payment of Customs duty.

The NCS, therefore, issued a 14-day ultimatum for payment of duties and submission of verification papers, or risk sanctions that may include asset forfeiture.”

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“The Guardian had lately reported a myriad of abuses by owners and operators of private jets in the bid to shortchange the system and reduce the burden of operating cost in the face of pandemic challenges. Chief Operating Officer of the association of Private Jet Nigeria, Omotade Lepe, had said the sub-sector lost between $1 billion and $5 billion to the pandemic, which silenced the erstwhile purring luxury market.”

“Besides avoiding duties due to the Federal Government, more owners were boycotting local rules to retain foreign registration numbers. Most disturbing for the general sector is the illegal use of private jets for commercial operations – an encroachment into the turf of licensed air transport operators.

The apex regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), acknowledged some of the gaps that are consistently explored by some operators, though assured that regulatory efforts were on to block loopholes and check illegalities.”

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