Local sports federations/associations have called on the National Olympic and Sports Committee (RNOSC) and the Ministry of Sports to push for a tax relief on sports equipment that come into the country.
Several federations that Times Sport talked to, have revealed that they are asked to pay taxes on sports equipment they receive as donations from outside yet they are not for sale and are only for boosting the development of sports activities.
“We receive balls, rackets and jerseys as donations from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), but one of the challenges that we face is paying tax yet we don’t have the funds. ITF is a sports non-profit organization and a sports promotion organ,” says Rwanda Tennis Federation (RTF) president, Kassim Ntageruka.
He noted that, “The equipment is just donations and we don’t expect to profit from it since it’s just equipment meant to be used to promote tennis in Rwanda, so RNOSC and MINISPOC should step in to make the issue clear to Rwanda Revenue Authority.”
Some of the sports equipment is expensive which makes it hard for some of the local sports federations to procure, however; since they are members of international sports association like International Olympic Committee (IOC), ITF, IAAF or FIFA, they receive them as donations.
The National Paralympic Committee-Rwanda wants to install sitting volleyball mates in each district as part of their infrastructure development plan but their biggest challenge is paying taxes on the purchased mate.
Former NPC president Celestin Nzeyimana said that, “Purchasing the mates is very expensive so we normally request the International Paralympic Committee and our other international partners for support.”
“We were taxed for the first mate that we received as a donation but thank God they exempted us to pay for the second one but only after thorough justification,” he explained.
According to Nzeyimana, a mate costs Rwf10 millions, which makes it very expensive for federations in developing countries, Rwanda inclusive, to afford.
Richard Mutabazi, the Technical Director of Musanze-based Africa Rising Cycling Centre (ARCC) thinks that exempting taxes on sports equipment is one step to develop sports in general because equipment is very expensive.
“Just like information technology was prioritized and taxes waived on equipment in that field, sports should also be considered to be exempted from paying taxes on its equipment. Promoting sports requires waiving taxes on equipment for wider sports dissemination,” he stated.
The National Olympic and Sports Committee president, Ambassador Valens Munyabagisha told this publication that they are well aware of the issue of taxes on equipment received as donation and that they have forwarded it to the Sports ministry but still waiting for response.