Rwanda revenue Authority (RRA) has signed MOU’s and awarded certificates of recognition to twenty-two companies in Rwanda who have been granted special customs status as Authorized Economic Operators (AEO).
The event was witnessed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General, Richard Tusabe, Acting USAID Mission Director Leslie Marbury, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Country Director, Patience Mutesi, Private Sector Federation Chairman Benjamin Gasamagera and several business leaders.
Speaking at the recognition ceremony, Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka commended the companies that had attained the special status. “They have consistently demonstrated a very high commitment to comply with customs regulations and security procedures” he said. “An AEO certified company for example is not subject to physical inspections, queuing or immediate audits”
The AEO concept is part of a broader compliance strategy to reward compliant traders with simplification benefits. This reward and encourages compliance and stimulates foreign trade which contributes to economic growth at the national and regional levels.
An AEO in Rwanda is an individual, a business entity or government department that is involved in international trade and is duly authorized by the Commissioner of Customs of the Rwanda Revenue Authority to self-manage key aspects of its customs processes previously handled by RRA. The objectives being to enhance trade facilitation, promote customs to business partnership, ensure security for the international trade supply chain, and encourage voluntary compliance to customs laws and procedures.
The AEO programme at regional level started in 2008 and ended in 2013 under pilot Phase I. 13 Operators were accredited of which 3 are Rwandans. The second phase of the programme runs from 2014 to 2018. Phase 2 will focus on 4 key areas – Regional AEO-scheme; Risk Management and Enforcement; Information and communication technology; and Mutual Recognition.
The AEO project is an initiative of the RRA supported by USAID Rwanda through TradeMark East Africa that seeks to enhance trade by reducing the cost of doing business through simplifying customs procedures and reducing clearance time.
“USAID Rwanda is proud to support RRA in achieving this important milestone to boost trade for Rwandan firms in the region. Ultimately, this will increase prosperity not just for Rwandans, but for the citizens of the entire region,” said Leslie Marbury, Acting Mission Director of USAID/Rwanda.
RRA Commissioner General, Richard Tusabe added, ‘’This recognition will also enhance the image and trust of the businesses that have it, as it provides for mutual recognition with the other revenue authorities in the region. We will know we have achieved our objective when the savings businesses are enjoying, trickle down to a reduction in prices of goods for the common citizen”
Speaking after the ceremony, Patience Mutesi, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Rwanda Country Director thanked all the companies for taking part in the project. “The AEO programme continues to show tremendous results for organisations participating and we can expect the benefits to trickle down to the citizaens”
RRA plans to bring another 22 companies onto the AEO programme in the next phase of the project.
Source: Africa Business Community