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RRA calls manufacturers to embrace AEO program

Rosine Uwamariya, the Commissioner for Customs services on Friday met manufacturers over Authorized economic operator’s program promotion. In his remarks, Uwamariya expressed his gratitude of having manufacturers leading the country to self-reliance through a program dubbed “Made in Rwanda”, noting that RRA is committed to ensure that raw materials consistently arrive at the production facilities on time and process quickly their refund claims among other benefits and facilities. AEO is granted to compliant manufacturers, transporters, clearing agents to allow them the preferential treatment in their trade across the EAC region. According to Commissioner Uwamariya, through the AEO program, the government of Rwanda and business community can have benefits  which include simplified procedures, predictability of business, differential treatment related to the level of voluntary compliance, improved market access, fewer physical and document based controls, priority treatment of consignments if selected for control, choice of place of control wherever necessary. On the side of the government, benefits include trade growth, increased revenues, and attraction of foreign investments and recognition as a trustworthy business area within the region. To be granted an AEO status requires compliance with any laws, rules and regulations pertaining to Customs, Domestic Taxes and all relevant government agencies for a period of three years prior to application for authorization. The Commissioner for customs underlined the benefits connected to compliance saying: “Even though compliance is a cost, non compliance is more expensive.” Jonathan Bisengimana, from Rwanda Mountain Tea said: “It fastens processes, we don’t offload our goods, we do declare online and customs do verification after, our refund is quickened, we don’t wait for RRA officers to ct the seal. We enjoy the facilities of AEO and call other business owners to join the program. When you comply you get advantage like this, If you are not an AEO certified you will suffer long process while the certified AEO is enjoying the preferential treatment. The only cost is compliance.” Nathan Rutyisire said he was not aware of AEO but that he found it can bring huge benefits as they do cross border trade. “We had challenge of delay of our imported goods but now it will be easier to trade. It is a facility that comes at its needed moment.” EAC member states have 82 recognized regional AEOs among which 34 are Rwandans. 11 are manufactures.

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