africa|business|environment|innovation|service|services|supply chain|system

Sars, Busa form economic operator stakeholder group to improve border management

9th July 2021

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The South African Revenue Service (Sars) and business advocacy organisation Business Unity South Africa (Busa) on July 9 announced the formation of the Sars Private Sector Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Stakeholder Group to improve border management.

Over the next four years, the programme will expand to include all supply chain actors, a simplified programme for small, medium-sized and microenterprises, a single government AEO programme and a single Southern African Customs Union AEO programme with augmented benefits.

Border management requires a balance of trade facilitation and the collection of the correct taxes, while also improving compliance.

“AEO is an important acknowledgement and intermediary to work with and through stakeholders to achieve our intentions.

"The AEO programme will ensure we achieve this fine balance at the lowest possible cost without any compromise to the revenue compliance risks that the passage of goods and services across our borders represent,” Sars said in a statement.

Sars launched the AEO programme in November 2020 and there are 137 companies that are certified as accredited traders and enjoy trade facilitation benefits.

“Sars’ strategic intent is to work towards a system of voluntary compliance. This requires Sars to continuously place more reliance on taxpayers who choose to be compliant.

"Our first strategic objective is to help clarify their obligations, the second is to help them fulfill those obligations, and the third, in the interests of honest taxpayers and traders, [to cultivate the] ability to detect and respond to noncompliance.”

This is in support of Sars’ vision to build a smart, modern Sars system of unquestionable integrity that can be trusted.

“The AEO programme fits squarely into Sars' overall strategic intent and Sars is adapting its modernisation programme to serve this strategic intent and help bring to fruition this vision.

"Sars customs aims to facilitate the movement of goods and people across our borders in a way that responds to Sars’ strategic intent and vision,” the revenue service said.

Further, in recognition that a dynamic partnership between Sars and stakeholders is essential to drive innovation and economic growth, and that the Sars AEO programme responds more effectively to an ever-changing environment, Sars and Busa agreed to establish an AEO Collaborative Stakeholder Group.

A jointly developed five-year work plan will culminate in regional integration of the programme by 2025.

“A chain is as strong as its weakest link. When Sars relies on partners, the integrity of the chain or supply network will be as strong as the weakest among us.

"It is in our interest to ensure we collaborate to protect all of our interests. If any one of us places our narrow interests above the collective interests, we will achieve [short-] term gain but will all lose in the long run,” said Sars Commissioner Edward Kieswetter.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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