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New facility in customs to faster trans-border trade

The Rwanda Revenue Authority administration has called importers and exporters to apply for Authorized Economic Operator (AEO), a regional facility to fast track business operations. Commissioner for customs, Raphael Tugirumuremyi stated that the new facility at EAC level intends at promoting international business environment as well as a witness of fact that there is mutual trust and collaboration between the tax administration at customs and taxpayers. He stressed that while the Rwandan territory is far from seas, there is need to find different ways to ease business. “We must look for different ways to faster business and facilitate our traders so that the cost of commodities can be reduced at the market,” Tugirumuremyi pointed out. According to him, the registred business person will be given the number which will give him priority during inspection. While customs officers do document and physical verification, the commissioner for customs said that for those in AEO can be facilitated in diferent ways to easily travel as very important persons. Systems of verification at customs are interfaced in a way that the system rank business people according to their facilities to be granted. AEO comes as an addition to existing customs facilties like gold card, blue channel which were also granted to according to the level of tax compliances of exporters and importers in Rwanda. Benefits of AEO include automation of company processes which are electronic registers, Stock movements, Inbound & outbound processes, availability of audited reports by qualified auditors, ease of access to company records by customs, internal control procedures, integrated accounting systems among others. AEO comes as an addition to other customs facilities to exporters and importers. Tugirumuremyi remarked that big facility like the AEO require a high level person, calling the importers and exporters to maintain high level of integrity and compliance in their daily business. To be granted the AEO, the applicant should not have contravened any laws, rules and regulations pertaining to customs, domestic taxes and other relevant government agencies for a period of three years prior to application for authorisation, have no tax arrears, The applicant must demonstrate adequate financial standing. The applicant shall be deemed to have met the conditions of solvency if it can be proven for the past three years. The applicant must provide evidence (financial statements) indicating a good financial standing sufficient to fulfill its commitments with regard to the type of business. They shall obtain the AEO Application and Self- assessment form from Customs as the tax administration applies a self-assessment model which enables the applicant to assess themselves against the set criteria and only submit the application to Customs administration which shall verify that the application is complete, correct and valid. Winfried Mukabuzi, CEO of Trade Line Investment Company, importing different items. She said the facility will boost their business and save money and time outside the country like the golden card has granted her more faculties within the country. She indicated that the new facility offers them more advantage in crossing the region to trade. Commissioner for customs believes that people doing cross border business will register for the AEO after understanding the benefits it bears. On his part, Gadi Munyentwali, deputy Commissioner for corporate risk management and modernization remarked importers and exporters to ensure that they comply with tax laws including the use of EBM. Mwema Bahati

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