Authorised economic operator programme
ZIMBABWE has implemented the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme in line with international standards. This is provided for in Section 216B of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02].
An “Authorised Economic Operator” is any entity involved in the movement of goods internationally in accordance with terms and conditions, as well as functions set and approved by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) as complying with World Customs Organisation (WCO) or equivalent supply chain security standards. Authorised Economic Operators include, inter alia manufacturers, importers, exporters, clearing agents, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouses and distributors. Benefits of AEO Status Enhanced compliance
Simplified Customs procedures and declarations
Fewer physical and document-based controls
Priority treatment of consignments if selected for control
Choice of the place of controls
Special measures relating to periods of trade disruptions
First consideration in query resolution
Possibility of waiver/ reduced guarantees
Improved relations with ZIMRA
Recognition as a secure and safe business partner Who can be an AEO? Any manufacturer, importer, exporter, clearing attendance agent, carrier, consolidator, intermediary, port, airport, terminal operator, integrated operator, warehouse, and distributor who meet standards as outlined in the governing legislation. Qualification Criteria Any person interested in benefitting from the AEO programme should apply for authorisation in writing to the Commissioner General of ZIMRA, which shall be granted after detailed pre-certification verification and validation. The application should be sent to the ZIMRA Office nearest to the applicant.
The applicant should meet the following conditions: Be established in Zimbabwe; Have appropriate record of compliance with Customs and other relevant laws;
Have a satisfactory system of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records; Have proven financial solvency; and Ensure that there is general maintenance of approved security and safety standards.
Obligations of an AEO The AEO is required to; Keep proper records; Ensure that members of its staff conduct their business in accordance with the procedures of the Act or any instructions given by the Commissioner General of ZIMRA, or any of his officers;
Ensure a relationship of good faith is maintained by his staff at all times in dealing with the Authority;
Maintain an accounting system which is in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Practices ( GAAP) and which facilitates audit-based Customs control;
Allow an officer physical and electronic access to the information and documents as provided for in terms of Section 223 of the Customs and Excise Act;
Use compatible electronic systems for Customs procedures and commit to regularly upgrade the system;
Ensure that their premises are in conformity with the appropriate security and safety standards. Important Notes Clients should note that the application for AEO status shall only cover the legal entity of the applicant and will not automatically apply to a group of companies. This implies that, if, for example, AEO status is granted to a clearing agent, this will not confer similar status on the agent’s clients being importers or exporters. The clients will be required to apply separately for the AEO status. For maximum benefits to be derived, it would be ideal to have the whole supply chain players obtain the AEO status, for example, the clearing agent, the importer, the transporter, the transit shed operator/container depot operator and the distributor. Disclaimer This article was compiled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for information purposes only. ZIMRA shall not accept responsibility for loss or damage arising from use of material in this article and no liability will attach to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
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