The Director of Revenue Protection Department in Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said that the country continues to lose millions of francs through smuggled goods.
Topping the list of these illegal goods are liquors, wines and milk powder that stealthy find their way into the country from neighboring countries. Statistics show that RRA seizes close to 450 cartons of these products worth millions of francs, annually.
Rwanda is also noticing substantial volumes of smuggled goods from her EAC partner states where traders forge documents to claim that some foreign goods are locally produced and hence should enter at zero tariff.
This is a clear violation of the rules of origin as emphasized within the customs union protocol.
These illegal acts only serve to derail our development trajectory and must be dealt with effectively. The need to increase the country’s domestic revenues and hence cut down on the budget deficit cannot be realized if traders are bent on evading taxes.
The battle to end this primitive conduct must not be shouldered by Rwanda alone. EAC member states should play by the rules and ensure that certificates accorded to goods befitting from zero tariff policy indeed merit the conditions. These must be goods whose raw materials are 100 percent indigenous.
Otherwise, without consistent follow up and cooperation from all parties, it becomes difficult for a single jurisdiction to do the policing.
For Rwanda, the war on smugglers must be every patriot’s duty. Ours is a nation that cannot afford the loss of any single penny given the development tasks that lie ahead for this nation.