Tax collection in Eastern Province increased by 3.7 per cent in the last fiscal year, boosting the treasury in the wake of the country’s bid to wean itself off foreign aid.
Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) said on Wednesday that it generated Rwf21.2 billion, in internal revenues from Eastern Province in the 2017/18 fiscal year.
In this fiscal year, the taxman targets Rwf23.9 billion in internal revenues from Eastern Province.
In 2018/17 RRA collected Rwf53.9 billion in district revenues against a target of Rwf51.7 billion.
Overall, RRA generated Rwf1,234.2 billion in taxes, representing 58.3 per cent of the national budget. The revenue collections surpassed the taxman’s target of Rwf1,215.2 billion.
The figures were released on Wednesday at a function to reward the best taxpayers in the region, which was held in Nyagatare district. It is part of the activities running up to the 2018 Taxpayers’ Appreciation Day at the national level under the theme; “Pay tax, build a better Rwanda”.
Some 15 best taxpayers in Eastern Province were rewarded for exhibiting excellence in tax compliance among other things.
The Commissioner General of RRA, Richard Tusabe, said that the share of domestic taxes to the national budget has been growing since 1998, boosted by a conducive legal regime, the introduction of the electronic billing machines in VAT management as well as the use of ICT based systems in declaring and paying taxes, among others.
“[Due to] the recommendations you give us every day, some laws are altered so we can boost commerce,” he said.
He added: “The more we encourage taxpayers on self-reliance, especially because the benefits return to them, the easier it gets for perceptions to change,” he said, adding that this gives hope to achieve “the actual self-reliance”.
Governor Mufulukye giving an award to one of best taxpayers in the province during the event. Photos by Jean de Dieu Nsabimana.
The Private Sector Federation Chairman in Eastern Province, Jean Bosco Ndungutse, commended RRA for introducing technology-based systems, which have facilitated the business community.
“Entrepreneurs now understand that RRA is their institution, that RRA staffers are their workers,” described Ndungutse.
The Governor of Eastern Province, Fred Mufulukye, described the collaboration as key to development.
“Collaboration is necessary to our country’s development, without it we cannot achieve anything,” he said. “So, we cannot achieve tax targets without working together,” he added.
He pointed out that new targets cannot be achieved if they do not work together to get rid of smuggling, among other scams.
“Paying tax is patriotic,” he stated.
“You should not think that it is money you are giving to Rwanda Revenue Authority, let’s change the perception and understand that the paid tax is a contribution to build your nation,” he said.
He said that when one understands it this way, “things get very easier”.