If goods are not handled by MAGERWA officers no single payment should be made to the authorities at the border posts, Rwanda Revenue Authority has said.
This follows complaints by a section of traders importing goods from neighbouring countries in the region through Gatuna border. Traders say there are charged depending on the size of merchandise.
“I have personally written to stations about the issue encouraging our clients who are charged to report to us or even refuse to pay. If Magerwa has not done handling, no payment is expected to be made to them,” Eugene Torero, the Commissioner General in charge of Customs told Business Times on Thursday.
According to a source within the business community who claim to have been charged, MAGERWA officers at the Gatuna border demand payment from traders while goods of those who do not comply are confiscated.
“We are confused because it is not clear whether we are supposed to pay this money or not,” the source told Business Times on condition of anonymity.
The traders also say those who bring goods through the Kagitumba border are not charged at all.
However, Torero explained that MAGERWA is entitled to a fee if they handle the goods during the inspection even if they do not store the goods.
“The process of inspection is handled by Magerwa because Customs does not have personnel there,” he said.
Torero also mentioned that the tax body is aware that some traders prefer using their own personnel to off load their merchandise to under declare their goods.
The custom law requires that goods for declaration are removed from the truck. “We can not allow that! If anything goes wrong MAGERWA is held responsible,” he said.
Last month, MAGERWA increased its charge for handling imported goods by 33 percent citing increase in fuel prices, high inflation and the need to maintain infrastructure.
The time given to clients for collection of goods from the warehouses was also cut from 15 to 7 days while failure to comply attracts a charge of Rwf.1 per kilogram per day.
According to authorities at MAGERWA, computerisation of their systems has cut down processing time as it is possible for clients to collect their goods after one day, thus the removal of 15 days grace period.