Rwanda and Britain sign 2Bn regional integration deal

-Funds to be channeled through RRA The governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for a grant worth £2million (Rwf2 Bn), for the promotion of Rwanda’s regional integration process.
Minister James Musoni and Ambassador Cannon after signing the MoU at the MINECOFIN offices. (Photo G Barya).
Minister James Musoni and Ambassador Cannon after signing the MoU at the MINECOFIN offices. (Photo G Barya).

-Funds to be channeled through RRA

The governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for a grant worth £2million (Rwf2 Bn), for the promotion of Rwanda’s regional integration process.

The funds which will be channeled through the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) are meant to promote Rwanda’s trade in the region, by facilitating different projects of the tax body.

This is under a new bilateral framework aid for trade programme, which will not only work to reduce costs of doing business on a regional basis, but it will also work closely with the private sector and civil society on regional issues.

James Musoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, signed on behalf of the Rwandan government while Nicholas Cannon, the British Ambassador to Rwanda, signed on behalf of the UK.

“We are grateful for this project because it will enable us build the One-stop boarder posts with our neigbours, encourage legitimate trade through fighting smuggling and mordernise our customs services which will facilitate our role in a wider EAC,” Musoni said.

During the function, the Minister also reflected on the Rwf350 billion that was collected by the Authority last year, adding that such achievements have also been possible partly because of Britain, which has strengthened the capacity of RRA to collect more revenues.

The money will be released by the UK through the British Department for International Development (DFID).

“Our government believes that economic growth highly depends on integrated economies in the region. We are therefore happy with this partnership because it will lead to greater integration hence added prosperity for the Rwandan people and the region,” he added.

Ambassador Cannon also expressed his government’s commitment to work with Rwanda at ensuring that integration priorities are achieved.

“President Paul Kagame has, on many occasions pointed out the importance of regional integration and we believe that the high cost of doing business needs to come down. We are committed to make this happen so that businesses can grow, create more jobs and in turn reduce poverty in Rwanda,” he added.

Mary Baine, the RRA Commissioner General and Tony Polatajko Head of DFID programmes in Rwanda were among the guests who witnessed the signing.

According to the officials, RRA not only collects revenues but also interacts directly with the business community.

“As an instrument of government’s wider objectives, we affirm proper use of these resources and regular monitoring of the projects to ensure that intended objectives are achieved,” Musoni said.

Once implemented, several One-stop border posts (Gatuna, Rusumo and Akanyaru Haut) will enable traders spend up to fifty percent less time at the borders which will make doing business cheaper and easier. 

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