FINANCIAL REPORTING has been an Achilles’ heel for most government departments, attracting the annual naming and shaming by the Auditor General.
Local governments have not been left out among agencies that have exhibited poor bookkeeping. The decentralisation of governance bodies – from provinces down to the lowest administrative structure – came with their own unique challenges; the most obvious being the collection and management of revenues.
Most of the reasons put forward for poor financial management in the Auditor General’s annual reports was the low capacity by financial managers, necessitating local governments to delocalise revenue collections resulting in management nightmares.
The glaring loopholes were also not easy to plug and were very tempting for unethical workers.
Now the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has stepped in to offload that task from the districts’ back; it is a very timely decision. Tax collection is a very tedious affair and a multiplication of collection points could be ground for abuse and inefficiency.
While RRA will be collecting the taxes on the districts’ behalf, the latter will remain the sole custodians of the monies, they will have the overall say on its utilisation.
Local governments will thus have a weighty load off their shoulders, giving them more time to attend their subjects’ wellbeing and streamlining their affairs.