Without breaking a sweat, the customs department at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is guaranteed of slightly more than a trillion shillings in revenue from companies it has enrolled in the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme. The AEO is generally a trade facilitation initiative which the tax body uses to ease trade by simplifying and quickening clearance of cargo at the border points.
“Under this programme, businesses and companies that comply with customs laws and regulations are afforded preferential treatment such as having their goods cleared quickly,” URA commissioner for customs, Mr Dicksons Kateshumbwa, said at the launch of the AEO conference earlier in the week.
He added: “The compliant entities will also be given first priority while at the custom as well as treating them to simplified procedures and less inspection while having their products cleared at the border points.”
Mr Kateshumbwa also disclosed that nearly 20 per cent of revenues collected at the customs points is being generated by the 36-member companies that are part of the AEO programme known as the exclusive club of elite companies.
He said: “In terms of revenue we collect, about Shs1.2 trillion is from them.”
With 28 more companies being brought into the programme, the revenue contribution of entities under this initiative, according to Mr Kateshumbwa will go to about 25 per cent beginning the next financial year.
According to other sources, although shs1.2 trillion is expected in the revenue bag, it is believed that it can rise to even shs1.4 trillion, basing on the previous financial year’s collection.
Meanwhile, URA is set to host the 4th World Customs Organisation (WCO) Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) conference, which is the first of its kind on the African continent.
More than 800 delegates from 169 countries are expected to attend, with President Museveni expected to officially launch the ceremony.
Speaking on behalf of the commissioner general, the Commissioner for Investigations, Mr Patrick Mukiibi, said Uganda was chosen to host the global conference following her achievements in the implementation of several trade facilitation programmes at the custom points, with AEO programme being one of the flagship initiative.
In addition to having the conference showcase Uganda’s tourism potential, topics around trade facilitation initiatives will be thoroughly discussed.
This will be in addition to learning about challenges and success registered at the customs, let alone forging a way forward on how the successes registered can be consolidated, going forward.
Currently, AEO programme is being implemented by most WCO member countries, including Uganda. There are actually 77 AEO programmes worldwide. And regionally, all the five East African community countries are implementing the programme at both national and regional level.