URA Celebrates 10 Years of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program, over 129 Businesses Embrace it

The tax body Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has revealed that since the establishment of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program in 2013, over 129 businesses have embraced it which brings an increase in tax revenue collected.

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) is a trade facilitation initiative that provides various benefits and privileges to businesses engaged in international trade.

AEO status is granted to companies that meet specific criteria related to customs compliance, financial solvency, and security standards.

By participating in the program, businesses can enjoy streamlined customs processes, reduced clearance times, and improved trade relationships.

Sarah Chelangat the commissioner of domestic tax while speaking to journalists at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday, highlighted that the AEOs contribute to over 40 percent of customs tax revenue being the most compliant, transparent taxpayers the tax body relies on.

She added that they declare voluntarily without URA going to do the verification and inspection.

“Over the last decade, URA has been working hard to enhance the AEO program and make it more attractive for the traders”. Can you encourage more traders to be part of this program, she stated Chelangat asked the AEO business owners.

Chelangat also revealed that Uganda has signed mutual recognition agreements with China and South Africa to give Ugandan traders preferential treatment in those markets and also improved the benefit regime for the AEO and through digitalization and automation the tax body will be able to deliver more value to the clients.

Anna Nambooze from Trade Mark Africa, one of the 10 founding members of AEO noted that this program has helped businesses that are compliant to expedite the process of import and export of goods.

According to Nambooze, AEOs are not operating only in Uganda but also some regional operators have helped the program run swiftly.

She also noted that as Trader Mark they see a lot of potential in enabling businesses to run swiftly in import and export. She said that they are now looking at going digital for risk management so that businesses can operate in one location online.

Annet Mutaawe Ssemuwemba, East African Community Deputy Secretary General in charge of Customs, Trade, and Monetary Affairs noted the efforts by URA in making sure that the private sector understands this program which has led to the increase in the number of businesses that have embraced the program.

She also urged the tax body to expand the membership of the AEO program to big businesses and SMEs as well as women so that no one is left out.

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