EAC revenue chiefs, examine common challenges

The five East African Community (EAC) partner states’ revenue heads yesterday met in Kigali, to seek solutions on some issues affecting the tax bodies.
Uganda Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General Allen Kagina (R) gives Uganda’s account at the 27th EARA Commissioners’ General meeting at Serena Hotel. (Photo/ J Mbanda)
Uganda Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General Allen Kagina (R) gives Uganda’s account at the 27th EARA Commissioners’ General meeting at Serena Hotel. (Photo/ J Mbanda)

 The five East African Community (EAC) partner states’ revenue heads yesterday met in Kigali, to seek solutions on some issues affecting the tax bodies.

The 27th session of the East African Revenue Authorities (EARA) Commissioners’ General meeting was the first held since Rwanda joined the regional customs union.

The Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority, Mary Baine, highlighted the global credit crunch, low compliance levels, smuggling and tax evasion as the region’s shared challenges.

She revealed that forging of certificates of origin is one way the region loses a lot of revenue, and needs to be addressed immediately. 

Management systems, especially ICT systems, also present challenges to the bloc’s tax bodies.

“We have really tried to computerize, but we often find that we bought off the shelf solutions,”

Lack of training of revenue staff was also highlighted as of the challenges facing the bloc. 

Kenya’s Michael Waweru, told reporters that the bloc, by and large, faces similar challenges.

“We have similar challenges within the region, in collecting taxes, in customs, people not declaring the right quantities. In domestic taxes, we again have people not declaring their correct invoices,” Waweru said.

Waweru stressed that they are collaborating to make sure that the scope of tax evasion is reduced.

Tanzanian Harry Kililya acknowledged that his country has missed its revenue targets by 10 percent due to these challenges.

The tax chiefs agreed to help in the setting up of the Burundi Revenue Authority that is expected to be operational by January 2010.  

Emile Sinzumunsi who represented Burundi, said that systems are being harmonized, and the bill to establish BRA is in place.

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