Customs reply Air Peace, say not in defiance of FG order

The Nigerian Customs Service has responded to the accusation levelled by the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, which says that the Service is defying the Federal Government’s executive order on commercial airplanes and spare parts.

The Service said some reports had quoted Onyema to have said that it is still collecting duty and VAT in defiance of the executive order.

Clarifying the situation, the Service said it did not collect duty and VAT from Air Peace in line with the exemption granted by Section 39 of the Second Schedule of the Finance Act.

The Service said it only collected appropriate charges on the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme and also the Comprehensive Imports Supervision Scheme not covered by the exemption granted by Section 39 of the Second Schedule of the Finance Act.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday and signed by the Public Relations Officer For Comptroller-General of Customs, DC Joseph Attah.

The statement read, “The attention of Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to deliberate misinformation of the public regarding payments of Customs duty, VAT and other charges like ETIS 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 FGs Executive Order on commercial airplanes and spare parts.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to draw his attention to Section 39 of the Second Schedule of the Finance Act as amended which states that “Airlines registered in Nigeria and providing commercial air transport services are entitled to duty-free importation of their aircraft, engines, spare parts and components whether purchased or leased”. The aforesaid did not grant concession on CSS and TELLS. The Act grants exemptions to Customs duty and VAT only.

“Such imports are therefore still required to pay appropriate charges on ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and Comprehensive Imports Supervision Scheme (CISS), 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 was, therefore, surprised to read from some national dailies quoting the Chairman of Air Peace accusing it of defying the Federal Government order, 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 FG Executive Orders most unfortunate and does not show proper understanding of the extant regulations governing one’s industry, which can also be construed as a deliberate attempt to blackmail the Service.

“The thinking that NCS can act in defiance of FG Order is far-fetched as our statutory function is to implement the fiscal policies of Government to the letter. On the off chance that this faux pas wax as a result of a misreading of Government regulation, NCS wishes to advise Airline and indeed other industry operators to always engage the appropriate authority for proper clarification and necessary action instead of resorting to self-help by using their obviously enormous visibility to gain public sympathy even when in contravention of extant laws As implementers of fiscal policies, we give assurances of our readiness to act in accordance with the principle and spirit of any Government directive concerning any Industry in spite of attempt to portray the NCS negatively in the public domain.”

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