KAMPALA — Twenty-four companies have been chosen to receive preferential treatment when clearing their goods at Customs, after they exhibited high levels of compliance in their tax obligations.
During the engagement held at Speke Resort Munyonyo, James Malinzi noted that under Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), the companies will now enjoy fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection.
These companies join ninety-two others chosen earlier for the same treatment.
The total of AEOs is now 118, 58 of these are agents, 60 are importers and exporters, 18 do self-management of their bonds and 31 are regionally recognized AEOs.
“Please encourage your clients to join the program because the more players in the AEO Program, the more benefits you will have. We are also revamping the area of the benefit scheme that is responsive, effective and makes URA accountable to you our clients,’’ Malinzi said of the improved benefits of the AEO programme.
An AEO is a company highly trusted by the revenue body-that even with less surveillance, such a company is expected to assess itself and willfully pay taxes.
The companies are also able to self-regulate, self-assess and also work seamlessly with URA in regards to their operations with URA.
AEO is a regional trade facilitation programme recommended by the World Customs Organization(WCO) to ease trade and customs clearance for tax-compliant importers and exporters.
The Commissioner General on the other hand thanked the AEOs for their contribution towards Uganda ’s growing economy.
He noted that in the FY 2021/22, AEOs contributed UGX. 3.594 trillion which was approximately 42% of the total Customs revenue of UGX. 8.444 trillion.
“We have 118 AEOs who are responsible for more than 41% of the volumes of our international trade operations. This means that over 41% of our supply chain operations are handled by low-risk and reliable operators who benefit from managing themselves under the program,” C.G emphasized on the role of the AEO.
URA ’s Commissioner Customs, Abel Kagumire noted that nowadays, for one to qualify as an AEO, they must pass all URA compliance checks of Domestic taxes and Customs.
“In future, we are going to automate most of our processes and so we may add I.T as another stage of clearance before accreditation, Kagumire said.
He also encouraged representatives of successful companies to embrace The Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), an initiative that was introduced by the Government to improve business efficiencies and reduce the cost of compliance through improved record keeping.
Jaffer Abdallah one of the panelists during the engagement advocated for additional benefits for the AEOs to include; special treatment during banking, access to other government agencies and clearance at the airport.
“We need to have badges recognize us as AEOs and we can use them in places like banks and at the airport to avoid delays,” Jaffer boasted of how prestigious the AEO status is.