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Private Jet Owners Battle Federal Government Oover Imposition of Luxury Tax

– OYEDEPO, others to pay over N222m annually

– NCAA drags them to court

THE clash of the titans between the Federal Government and private jet owners has reached a crescendo with the imposition of a whopping $4,000 luxury tax on private jet owners and operators per departure.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s checks revealed that barely three months after unveiling a new policy for general aviation, which barred private jet owners from ferrying their friends and associates, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has directed them to pay $4,000 for every flight departure.

We learnt that a memo was sent to all private jet operators stating that Nigerian registered private jets would henceforth pay $3,000 for every departure, while foreign registered private jets would pay $4,000 per departure.  The memo, with reference number NCAA/DG/OR/GA/Vol 11/2013 reads: “In compliance with the provisions of Section 30 (2)(9) & (S) of the Civil Aviation Act of 2006, the authority hereby orders: All foreign registered aircraft engaging in non-scheduled operations shall forthwith pay $4,000 as fees under the provisions of the law set out above for every departure, except round trips without changes in passenger manifest, or return ferry.  Such fees shall be paid in advance and prior to departure.

“All Nigerian-registered aircraft engaging in non-scheduled operations shall forthwith pay $3,000 as fees under the provisions of the law set out above for every departure, except round trips without changes in passenger manifest, or return ferry.  Such fees shall be paid in advance and prior to any departure. This order shall be effective and in force immediately upon the date of issuance.  Failure to comply shall result in denial of operations or privileges.”

Industry source squealed to us that the memo has pitched the two gladiators (Federal Government and private jet owners) against each other as some operators rejected the levies, labeling them as illegal and as such would not pay.

The reason, we gathered, was that the affected pastors, moguls, politicians and other private jet owners would be expected to cough out an average of N100 million annually as luxury tax while those with more than one jets would pay over N222 million annually.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s finding revealed that NCAA has dragged them to a Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging the reluctance of the operators to pay the levies.

On Friday, September 27, 2013, NCAA confirmed the story and shed light on it.  “These charges are full service charges and replace all previous charges, such as the landing and parking fees, the en route navigational charges and the passenger service charge, which have been removed for this category of operators.  In addition to the charges they replace, the new charges cover newly introduced niche services for the category of clients, such as the use of the new general aviation facilities, including luxury VIP lounges, pilot lounges and crew rest rooms, as well as refreshments. The charges are based on the tariffs that are charged by these operators for their services.  This segment of the air transport industry is one of the key focus areas of the Federal Ministry of Aviation in its ongoing industry transformation efforts and major investments have been and are still being made to provide appropriate infrastructural facilities for their services.”

 – FEMI OYEWALE

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