NYARUGURU - The Southern Province contributed Rwf5.5billion in taxes in the last financial year, due to improved compliance of taxpayers.
This was revealed at the provincial Tax Payer’s Day marked in Nyaruguru District last week.
Speaking at the celebrations, Celestin Bumbakare, the commissioner for domestic taxes at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), commended taxpayers for meeting their tax obligation, revealing that the tax body currently supports the national budget to a tune of 55 percent.
“Our target is to fund the national budget 100 percent so as to cut on aid dependency,” he said.
Bumbakare named false declarations and tax evasion as some of the challenges the tax body is faced with.
He challenged taxpayers in the province to always clear their dues voluntarily if the country is to meet its target of funding the national budget.
He added that RRA will emphasise training of business operators on tax matters especially after joining the East African Community bloc and the introduction of ‘mobile offices’ to make tax payment more convenient especially in rural areas.
Provincial Governor, Fidele Ndayisaba, said that the country had taken “an important step” where it is now able to meet more than half of its budget.
He said that government is committed to expanding its tax base through joining trade blocs like the EAC and CEPGL.
This will increase trade opportunities for its people and, therefore, more taxable activities, he said.
Francois Rutayisire, the president of the Private Sector Federation in the province said tax compliance is improving in the province because taxpayers know that their taxes will be put to good use.
“Accountability mechanisms in place have boosted the confidence taxpayers have in RRA, taxpayers are now convinced that even those who attempt to embezzle their taxes will face the wrath of the law,” Rutayisire said.
He challenged business persons in the district to tap into the coffee and tea industry because of the favourable climate in the area.
He also called for massive investment in the hospitality industry so as to benefit from tourism activities at Kibeho sanctuary; a holy site that attracts thousands of pilgrims annually.
Felix Sibomana, the Nyaruguru Mayor said that it is easy to explain to the local people the importance of taxes because they are enjoying the benefits of their taxes.
“The district is now connected to the national electricity grid, hospitals, health centres and roads are being constructed. We do not need to explain much, residents can see for themselves,” he said.
He revealed that tax collection in the district had shot up from Rwf84million in 2007 to Rwf240million today.
In its corporate social responsibility, the RRA pledged to provide roofing materials to 10 poor families still living in grass thatched houses in the area.
The 9th celebration of Taxpayer Day is being marked under the theme: “Choose Development, Be Complaint.” National celebrations will be held in Rusizi District, in the Western Province mid this month.