RRA, CMU-Africa unveil applications to enhance data science in tax administration


Darius Mico, one of the software developers, gives a presentation during the unveiling of the five applications in Kigali on Friday. Timothy Kisambira.

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)-Africa yesterday unveiled five apps designed to improve tax administration.

The applications, which were developed by students from CMU-Africa, include Software Development of Single Taxpayer Platform for RRA (My RRA), Cyber Security, E-Learning, Inclusion of Geographical Information in Local Government Tax system, and Data Analytics.

Two months ago, a group of ten postgraduate software engineering students from the CMU Kigali-based campus embarked on developing the applications with view to enhancing efficiency in tax transactions and internal IT systems.

RRA Commissioner General Richard Tusabe said that building data science and IT capability is at the heart of the tax collector’s transformation agenda because they seek to spearhead the use of data analytics in revenue administration across the continent.

“We want the decisions we take at RRA to be driven by data, we want our services to be electronic and automated where possible to make it easy for taxpayers to comply, and we want our staff to feel that IT helps them to do their job more effectively,” said Tusabe.

RRA Commissioner General Richard Tusabe says that building data science and IT capability is at the heart of the tax collector’s transformation agenda. TKisambira.

Easing tax processes resonates well with RRA philosophy of improving tax compliance while facilitating trade, he said.  

“First of all, things are made easier for the taxpayer. Secondly, this gives us an opportunity to look at how we can increase the tax income and strengthen our system to know how to use the information that we have,” he added.

Tusabe emphasised that, for better service delivery, they will continuously work with such a top university in the field of technology as things keep on changing from time to time.

Guests follow proceedings. TKisambira.

Prof. Tim Brown, the associate director at CMU-Africa, said this was a great opportunity for their students to apply their skills in cyber security, software engineering, and big data analytics.

Prof. Tim Brown, the associate director at CMU-Africa, speaks to journalists. TKisambira.

“They’ve been working on a number of different projects to try to develop a unified portal that allows taxpayers to have a single interface and be able to do different business with RRA without having to leave the comfort of their home,” said Prof Brown.

He said they will save the taxpayers the hustle of having to move to different offices and having different interfaces and passwords.

The system also integrates payments and eliminates having to go to banks to deposit cash.

“Other projects students worked on include trying to use data that RRA has to understand the risk and challenges that different taxpayers might have so that RRA can proactively work with these taxpayers to avoid problems,” he added.

The students that developed the apps come from four African countries, including Rwanda.