The rich also cry and now we have proof. According to a report by Punch, private jet owners are taking the Nigerian government to court. Why? The government is asking them to cough up a whopping ₦30 billion as taxes. That’s just the right amount of money to bankrupt Davido and his 30BG crew.
Why’s the government going after private jet owners?
Jets are very fanciful things to have, but quite costly to maintain. In November 2021, the federal government approved the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ground 91 private jets belonging to some wealthy Nigerians over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running into over ₦30 billion.
At the time, the NCS issued a letter to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to ground the jets. But those ones were having family issues so they couldn’t enforce it.
Now though, it looks like everyone’s settled their beef and going after their money. It’s not a great time to be a Nigerian jet owner.
Who are those affected?
Most of the affected are foreign companies of Nigerian jet owners. 17 of them filed a suit in court challenging the government over the tax. The complainants include Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, and Osa Aviation Limited, among others.
They want the court to determine whether it’s lawful for them to pay the controversial import duty on their private jets or not.
How’s it playing out?
The court is yet to fix a date to hear the case but the NCS remains adamant the jet owners must pay the import duties whether they like it or not. The association of private jet owners has said the government needs to be transparent about the affair. Most of these jets are registered offshore and as such might be paying double taxes especially when they’re not fully imported to Nigeria.
While the parties await a court date, the NCS has other private jets owners on its list who have failed to appear for verification and asked the aviation agencies to ground them.
The owners of these jets include senior pastors of some popular pentecostal churches, some tier-1 banks and the CEOs of some indigenous oil companies. If the NCS follows up on this, we should expect more rich people to cry.