From 11 to 13 September 2013, the WCO Secretariat and the partner countries of the East African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) conducted a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop analyzed the progress of the recently launched regional Authorized Economic Operator Pilot Program, which is part of a Sida-funded multi-year regional WCO Columbus project.
During the twenty weeks the pilot program has been running, some 600 consignments have enjoyed beneficial treatment throughout the EAC as the status of pilot-AEO is recognized by all partner countries. Substantial improvements in release times were reported by the National Project Managers. In the case of one seaport, release times were decreased to one day and at one of the land border posts to 30 minutes!
All the economic operators participating in the AEO Pilot Program regularly submit data to enable measurement and also participated in the mid-term review in Nairobi. One Rwandan operator reported a decrease of US$400 in compliance costs per transaction and this operator has already completed 100 transactions under the Pilot Program which brings total savings so far to US$40 000. A Tanzanian importer/exporter calculated savings made to date of approximately US$150 000. The workshop also considered a number of proposals related to the Pilot Program as well as some key operational issues. The Sida contact point for the WCO project also participated in the workshop.