The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has grounded about 62 aircraft that defaulted in the ongoing verification of import documents exercise.
Speaking at a press briefing, the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah said the grounding won’t be lifted until the jet owners present their import document duly certified by the Service.
He said, “The Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria has been put on notice to ensure only privately owned aircraft duly verified, and cleared by Customs are authorized to operate within our airspace.”
“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, 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,” he stated.
He said 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.
Attah implored all concerned to avail themselves of the opportunity as the NCS it will not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.
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), All owners of private aircraft in the country were invited to come forward with their relevant importation clearance documents for verification.
The exercise took place between the 7th of June and August 6th, 2021 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service.
The documents requested include Aircraft Certificate of Registration; 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 applicable).
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NEMA’s Lagos Territorial Office Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye who confirmed the crash, said rescue operations were ongoing.
He said details were still sketchy, adding that information would be provided as soon as they were available.
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Emirates airline suspends operations in Nigeria over $85m trapped funds
From September 1st, 2022, Emirates airlines will cease to operate flight operations in and out of Nigeria.
It could be recalled that Emirate airline had cut down on its weekly number of flights into Lagos from 11 to seven over US$85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria.
The airline said the figure has been rising by more than $US10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.
They, however, said that the trapped funds are urgently needed to meet operational costs and maintain the commercial viability of their services to Nigeria.
“We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting losses, especially in the challenging post-COVID-19 climate. Emirates did try to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in Naira, which would have at least reduced one element of our ongoing costs, however, this request was denied by the supplier,” the airline had said.
However, with no considerable improvement and headway in repatriating the trapped fund, the airline, on Thursday, announced the suspension of its operations in Nigeria indefinitely.
The statement reads, “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1st September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however, the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.”
“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travelers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”
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