Zambia enhances its AEO Programme

11 July 2019

Under the auspices of the WCO-UNCTAD HMRC Programme financed by UK Government, and as part of the Mercator Programme, the World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted a diagnostic review of Zambia’s Customs Accreditation Client Programme (CACP) with a view to supporting the enhancement and effective implementation of a fully-fledged SAFE AEO Programme in Zambia. The mission was conducted from 3 to 6 July 2019 in Lusaka, Zambia and included an in-field observation visit to Chirundu, border point at the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.

Zambia has submitted a letter of intent to implement the SAFE Framework of Standards (SAFE FoS) in June 2005 and has also acceded to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) in July 2006. It is progressing well with the implementation of the AEO related provisions of the SAFE and the RKC, as well as with the relevant technical measures under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) through the establishment of the CACP, having 59 accredited clients to date.

During this diagnostic mission, WCO experts held meetings with the senior management and officials from various divisions of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) namely CACP, legal/international policy, business support and IT, risk management (RM), post clearance audit (PCA), and human resource and learning development. Based on the international instruments, standards and tools, as well as regional and national working experiences and best practices, WCO experts working with ZRA officials analysed the current CACP and elaborated potential areas for further improvement.

External stakeholders were also consulted. Several current and potential CACP clients representing importers and exporters, Customs brokers, freight forwarders shared their perspectives and thoughts on benefits, concerns and challenges with regard to the implementation of the CACP, as well as provided ways for further enhancing the programme in coordination with other government agencies and stakeholders.

Based on the detailed discussions and analysis, the WCO diagnostic team recommended a set of measures that ZRA could potentially undertake to further expand and enhance the CACP by including other economic operators (going beyond importers/experts) in the programme, identifying additional tangible trade facilitation benefits, strengthening AEO validation (in particular security validation) and post-authorization management processes, involving other government agencies in the programme, and enhancing IT systems for an efficient identification of CACP clients, as well as initiating steps for mutual recognition arrangements/agreements (MRAs) with a few major trade partners and developing an AEO training and capacity building programme.

ZRA has expressed a strong determination to move towards more effective implementation of the CACP in line with international standards, which would help expand the pool of trusted and secure economic operators in Zambia, thus contributing to ongoing Customs modernization and supply chain security efforts.