Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Over 600 people had registered by Feb.14 to attend the 4th World Customs Organization Authorised Economic Operators Conference to be held in Kampala from March 14 – 16 at Serena Hotel.
AEO is a trade facilitation program which URA uses to ease trade. Under the program, businesses which comply with customs laws and regulations are issued certificates that enable them receive preferential treatment like fast clearance of their goods through simplified procedures and reduced inspection.
Uganda is one of the few successful countries running this program in the World which is why it qualified as the first country in Africa to host the conference. Uganda has over 50 companies certified AEOs.
Speaking to journalists and AEOs at URA headquarters in Kampala on Feb.13, the Commissioner for Customs, Dicksons Kateshumbwa said the three-day meeting would serve as an opportunity to hear and learn about the successes and challenges of customs administrations.
The meeting is organized under the theme; promotion of mutual recognition of AEOs to strengthen and secure global trade. It is organized in conjunction with the World Customs Organisation and supported by Korea Customs Service and Huawei, a corporate sponsor. Over 800 participants are expected to attend the meeting from 169 countries.
“Their (visitors) coming speaks to information, value addition, security of Uganda,” said the Assistant Commissioner for Public and Corporate Affairs, Vincent Seruma.
Patrick Mukiibi, URA’s acting commissioner general said the meeting will serve as a forum to showcase Uganda’s customs achievements. He said it would also discuss contemporary customs issues – challenges, opportunities and make suggestions for improvement.
“We see a huge potential for economic growth in Africa with this program,” Mukiibi said.
Previously, WCO/AEO meetings have been held in 2012 and 2014 in Seoul, South Korea and Madrid, Spain respectively. The third meeting was held in Cancun, Mexico in 2016. President Yoweri Museveni is expected to officially open the conference.