Zimbabwe has implemented the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme in line with international best practice and the Customs and section 216B of the Excise Act [Chapter 23:02].


What is an Authorised Economic Operator?

An Authorised Economic Operator is an entity which has been accredited by a Customs Administration and is involved in the International supply chain. An AEO is approved by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority after demonstrating compliance with fiscal legislation.

Who is eligible for the AEO programme?

Importers, exporters, clearing agents, carriers, consolidators, intermediaries, ports, airports, terminal operators, integrated operators, warehouse, distributors and manufacturers who meet the standards outlined in the governing legislation are legible for the AEO programme.


Why launch the AEO Programme

The AEO Programme was necessitated by the need to facilitate trade, reward compliance and enhance international supply chain security.  The programme offers a modern approach through flexible application of Customs and Excise controls.  This is done by categorising operators and rewarding compliant/trusted operators.



Benefits of AEO status

  • Expedited processing and release of shipments
  • Priority response to requests for rulings from ZIMRA
  • Faster movement of cargo through the Border/Port of entry
  • Reduced demurrage and other related costs
  • Expedited processes to resolve post-entry or post-clearance inquiries


Qualification Criteria

Any person interested in being approved as an AEO shall apply in writing through the nearest ZIMRA office.  The applicant shall meet the following conditions in order to be approved as an AEO entity.

  • Be established in Zimbabwe.
  • Demonstrate compliance with Fiscal laws and requirements.
  • Have a satisfactory system of managing all required documentation pertaining to the business.
  • Have proven financial solvency.
  • Ensure that there is general maintenance of approved security and safety standards at its business premises.

Obligations of an AEO


The AEO entity is required to

  • Keep proper records it terms of Fiscal laws and regulations.
  • Ensure its members of staff conduct their business in accordance with the procedures of the Customs and Excise Act or any instructions given by the Commissioner General or any of his Officers.
  • Ensure a relationship of good faith is maintained by its staff at all times in dealing with the ZIMRA.
  • Maintain an accounting system which is in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) and which facilitates audit based Customs controls.
  • Allow ZIMRA physical and electronic access to the information and documents as provided for in terms of the Customs & Excise Act, Section 223.
  • Ensure that its business premises are in conformity with the appropriate security and safety standards.


Important Notes

The application for AEO status shall only cover the legal entity of the applicant and will not automatically apply to a group of companies. Note that the AEO status is not automatically granted to the AEO entity`s clearing agent or transporter as they will be required to apply separately for that status.

For maximum benefits to be derived, it would be ideal to have the whole supply chain players,  for example the importer/exporter, the clearing agent, the transporter, the transit shed operator/container depot operator and the distributor the obtain the AEO status.

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This article was compiled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for information purposes only. ZIMRA shall not accept responsibility for loss or damage arising from use of material in this article and no liability will attach to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.