The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says airlines registered in Nigeria and providing commercial air transport services are entitled to duty-free importation of their aircrafts, engines, spare parts and components, purchased or leased. Mr Joseph Attah, Public Relations Officer of the service, made the clarification in a statement issued to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja. Attah explained that Section 39 of the Second Schedule of the Finance Act as amended, did not grant concession on ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and Comprehensive Imports Supervision Scheme (CISS). According to him, the act grants exemptions to Customs duty and VAT only. He said such imports were therefore, still required to pay appropriate charges on ETLS and CISS. “The attention of Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a deliberate misinformation of the public, regarding payments of Customs duty, VAT and other charges like ETLS and CISS, on imported commercial aircrafts and spare parts. “Some sections of the media quoted the Chairman of Air Peace Airline to have stated that NCS is still collecting duty and VAT in defiance of the Federal Government’s Executive Order, on commercial airplanes and spare parts.
“It was therefore in line with the extant regulations that NCS did not collect duty and VAT on Air Peace recent import of E195-E2, with registration No. 5N-BYE, but restricted itself to the collection of ETLS and CISS which amounted to the sum of N189,000,000. “NCS, therefore, is surprised to read from some national dailies quoting the Chairman of Air Peace, accusing it of defying the Federal Government ordering, thereby destroying airline business in the country.
“This attempt at guilt-tripping and threatening to shut down as a result of the presumed ‘Service defiance’ of the Federal Government Executive Order, is most unfortunate and does not show proper understanding of the extant regulations governing one’s industry. ”This could also be construed as a deliberate attempt to blackmail the Service,” he explained. The spokesperson said the thinking that NCS could act in defiance of Federal Government Order, was far-fetched, as the statutory function of NCS was to implement the fiscal policies of government in totality. Attah however advised airlines and other industry operators to always engage the appropriate authority for proper clarification and necessary action, rather than resort to self-help.