Rwanda Revenue Authority has announced it will issue 1,000 machines, a ‘second generation of electronic billing machines’ (EBM), a system the tax collectors said will help monitor transactions from entry of goods into customs to sale.
The Deputy Commissioner-General and Commissioner for Corporate Services at RRA, Pascal Bizimana, told lawmakers last week that the revenue agency will give the machines first to major business operators, mainly those engaged in import of goods, to control the entire supply chain.
“From the time you enter the products into customs to their sale, we will be able to know the business person in question and to whom they sold the goods and the amount of transactions made,” he said.
He said when EBMs were introduced in 2013, about Rwf110.5 billion was collected in VAT, which increased to Rwf169.5 billion in 2014. Last year, Rwf220 billion was collected.
“This shows that EBM system is yielding results as VAT increased by over 90 per cent,” Bizimana said.
However, he concurred with parliamentarians that there are still issues in the EBM system, citing people who are reluctant to give EBM generated receipts.
“This necessitated that RRA to deploy many workers on the field to monitor compliance,” Bizimana said.
Lawmakers said some traders connive with buyers to record wrong prices on receipts that are not produced by EBM, so that they share illicitly earned gains.
MP Jean Pierre Hindura said EBM use still faces malpractice, claiming that there are some small businesses such as warehouses and shops whose proprietors tell buyers that they will reduce the cost of products only if they give them receipts that are not generated by EBM.
“You should further work on that to eradicate such malpractices,” he said.
Bizimana said that although a receipt is given by the dealer, there are people who have not yet understood VAT, because such tax is paid by the end-user, not the dealer.
Tackling the receipt issue
Bizimana said RRA is carrying out awareness campaigns to make the public, mainly dealers, understand the role of VAT.
MPs proposed that RRA carries out reward campaigns whereby businesses that use EBMs are recognised to motivate them.
MP Theobald Mporanyi said that RRA should also come up with a week reserved for consumers, whereby people who bought a lot of goods and got receipts are awarded, arguing that this would incentivise consumers to ask for EBM receipts more regularly.
In line with widening tax base, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Caleb Rwamuganza, said taxpayers increased from 152,000 in 2015 to 168,346.
In the 2015/16 fiscal year, total tax revenue amounted to Rwf986.7 billion, an achievement rate of 104.3 per cent.
This fiscal year, RRA seeks to collect more than Rwf1 trillion for the first time in its 18-year history.