The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has unveiled the piloting of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme meant to secure and facilitate safe as well as legitimate trade across border posts.
The AEO programme, launched on Wednesday in Lusaka, is a trade facilitation compliance matter as required by the World Trade Organisation – Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA).
It is also in line with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards (FoS).
In implementing the AEO, ZRA has engaged and certified Kanshanshi Mining PLC, Zambia Sugar PLC and First Quantum Minerals Tridad as operators.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Chipoka Mulenga, emphasised that the AEO was based on trust and compliance.
Mulenga stated that the AEO programme was not intended for abuse by the accredited players but to simplify procedures so that businesses became competitive in the domestic and foreign markets.
He said this in a speech read on his behalf by Ministry’s Director Domestic Trade and Commerce, Margaret Chikuba.
“Allow me to remind all stakeholders that the objective of the AEO Programme is to secure and facilitate safe and legitimate trade in a way that government collects more revenue through increased traffic as the private sector increase their turnover.
“For the private sector, this simply means that for you to continue enjoying the benefits of the AEO Programme, you must consistently ensure security and trade compliance in all your undertakings,” Mulenga said.
Speaking earlier, ZRA Commissioner General, Dingani Banda, explained that the AEO was a brainchild of the WCO aimed at improving customs efficiency.
Banda further explained that it was also meant to secure the safe passage of goods and people across the borders and ultimately facilitating legitimate trade.
He stressed that objective of the AEO was to promote co-operation and partnerships through three pillars: customs to customs administrations, customs to traders or to the businesses and customs to other government agencies.
“Today is a testament of our commitment to improve facilitation of legitimate international trade beyond our borders. the AEO is one step in the direction of building non-stop borders as directed by the republican president,” he said.
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