RRA set to auction smuggled merchandise worth Rwf.50 million

In a bid to recover government revenue, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is set to hold a major public auction for goods worth at least Rwf.50 million. The goods include those confiscated by its Revenue Protection Department (RPD).

In a bid to recover government revenue, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is set to hold a major public auction for goods worth at least Rwf.50 million. The goods include those confiscated by its Revenue Protection Department (RPD).

Scheduled for early next month, smuggled auction items include motor vehicles, motorcycles, and cartons of liquor, spirits, wines and furniture. 

It will also include goods that have stayed for more than 3 months in the RRA’s warehouse.

According to information from the RPD, wines and spirits form the bulk of the smuggled products that will be auctioned.

“A lot of revenue is lost through smuggling, because most of these products are highly priced.

This also encourages the smugglers to stay in business,” Seth Muhirwa, the director, RPD told Business Times in interview.

Muhirwa also mentioned that the auction is intended to minimize tax losses as smugglers continue to evade tax through the illicit trade.

“We have put in place measures to curb smuggling; however they (smugglers) keep dealing in the same products because they are expensive and they make big amounts of money out of them.

Liquors are our main selling products,” he said, pointing out that the auctioning would mitigate revenue loss.

“Ideally it should be done every month considering the stock available.

All items have a fixed price though people are allowed to bid until we get the highest bidder who should cover our minimum price,” Muhirwa said.

The list also includes motor vehicles that are smuggled into the country from neighboring countries.  RRA has intensified enforcement measures with regard to smuggling to recover government revenue.

This involves intensifying land and lake surveillance as well as monitoring goods under customs control.

RRA recently acquired two speed boats that will facilitate anti-smuggling campaign along Lake Kivu.

RPD indicates that liquors like wines and spirits, Bitengi fabrics are often smuggled into the country (using informal channels) from DR Congo, Tanzania while general merchandise originates from Uganda. Other products include engine oil, cigarettes, powdered milk (NIDO) and prohibited products like plastic bags and drugs like Marijuana.

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