URA urges companies to join list of its most “trusted taxpayers” to enjoy fast clearance of goods, reduced inspection

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Uganda Revenue Authority(URA) has encouraged companies to join the list of its most “trusted taxpayers” and enjoy benefits of fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection.

The companies can join this through their programme Authorised Economic Operators(AEO), an initiative that seeks to facilitate trade and promote security of the international trade supply chain.

The remarks were made as URA and China Customs launched the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operators Mutual Recognition Agreement at the URA headquarters in Kampala.

Uganda is the first country in Africa to implement the agreement with China, according to the officials from URA.

In May 2021, Uganda signed an Authorized Economic Operator(AEO) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with China during the 5th AEO Global conference held in Dubai. The arrangement was set to improve Uganda 's trade share in Africa borrowing from good trade practices of China as a major global player in trade.

Abel Kagumire, the URA commissioner customs

Abel Kagumire, the URA commissioner customs, said the initiative under the Authorised Economic Operators, businesses that comply with customs regulations benefit from preferential treatments such as fast clearance of goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection.

The initiative also seeks to counter threats that could erode benefits of flawless trade between and among countries, but also to professionalise operations to accepted standards.

Kagumire said this programmes is for the trusted importers and exporters, adding that these taxpayers have been audited, vetted, inspected and cleared by all departments in URA

“They have also been cleared by other government agencies. They are contributing 26% of our revenue. They have a unique identifier (just like AEOs in China),” he said.

The identifier is to help distinguish consignment received and also allow customs and other agencies involved to quicken the clearance processes.

Commissioner legal at the authority Patience Rubagumya

Speaking at the launch, the Commissioner legal at the authority Patience Rubagumya who represented the Commissioner General noted that the implementation of this programme will help to reduce cost of doing business and build synergies between traders in the two countries.

She noted that the initiative will also provide a platform for sharing information on traded cargo for faster and more efficient risk assessment and hence faster clearance of cargo and provide a basis for more effective controls leading to more secure and safer trade supply chain.

The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Lizhong

The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Lizhong, applauded the mutual cooperation between the two countries saying that Uganda is one of the best investment destinations in East Africa.

He said that the initiative will contribute largely to industrialisation.

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.

Currently, there are 118 AEOs, 58 of these are agents, 60 are importers and exporters, 18 do self- management of their bonds and 31 are regionally recognised AEOS.

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.

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