Security vital for trade, says ZRA

ZAMBIA’s economic prosperity depends on a consistent, stable and predictable environment for commerce, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner for Customs Services Dingani Banda has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by ZRA deputy commissioner for operations Nkanga Shimwandwe at the opening of the national workshop on safe framework of standard and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) in Lusaka yesterday, Mr. Banda observed that to sustain this stable and predictable environment security played a critical role.

He said there was need for a strategic plan for the implementation of the Authorised Economic Operation (AEO) programme in Zambia.

He said the AEO had become a flagship programme for customs authorities as it offers an opportunity for customs to share its security responsibilities with the private sector, while at the same time rewarding them with a number of facilitation benefits.

Mr. Banda said the AEO would help customs and the private sector to find the right balance between security and trade facilitation, and ensure that, in times of limited resources, efforts were focused on high-risk cargo.

“In order to have security, trusted trader programmes will need to grow while enhancing supply chain security,” Mr. Banda said.

He noted that although the AEO concept was originally driven by security, it had grown to address risks and compliance in other areas such as revenue assurance.

Mr. Banda also observed that partnership programmes with the  private sector were vital as they enable customs to do more with less, and aim at ensuring sustainable compliance through incentives such as reduced levels of control and reputational benefits.

He emphasised that there was need for Zambia to build a modern customs model in accordance with standard general rules and recommendations of the world customs organisation.

“This is one of the targets of customs development strategy of many countries in the world and Zambia is no exception,” he said.