Carnegie Mellon University - Africa students develop tax transaction efficiency applications

A group of ten postgraduate software engineering students from Carnegie Mellon University - Africa have embarked on developing five projects that are aimed at furthering efficiency in tax transactions, and enhancing cyber security and e-learning at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

A group of ten postgraduate software engineering students from Carnegie Mellon University Africa have embarked on developing five projects that are aimed at furthering efficiency in tax transactions, and enhancing  cyber security and e-learning at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

The programme is in line with a recently signed MoU between Carnegie Mellon University Africa and RRA.

 

The students will be at RRA for 10 weeks until August as part of their internship.

 

The students are working on projects namely; Software Development of Single Taxpayer Platform for RRA (My RRA), Cyber Security, E-learning, Inclusion of geographical information in Local Government Tax system and Data Analytics.

 

‘My RRA’ will allow taxpayers to manage different tax accounts from one platform which makes it easier for taxpayers to follow up on tax transactions via a variety of mobile gadgets as long as they are connected to the internet.

Easing tax processes resonates with the RRA philosophy of improving tax compliance while facilitating trade.

“RRA is responsible for collection of large amounts of funds through tax without data this cannot happen. We depend on data. This trust, which the country has put in us, allows no room for laxity. We take security of data seriously. Messing up with data would cripple capacity to collect taxes. It would damage our reputation,” Jean Louis Kaliningondo, the IT Strategic Advisor to the RRA Commissioner General said in a statement last week.

Kaliningondo said, previously  taxpayers go to a platform of VAT for VAT matters, then go to PAYE, Income Tax etc. But, with ‘My RRA’ they will be able to do that from one platform.

Local Governmentt Tax will use a coloured map to show locations of assets in default. Because sector level officers are closer to such areas they can locate and know these buildings are in a given location contrary to traversing the whole sector, house by house. With the system, enforcement teams can easily localise fixed assets not complying and go there, unlike the current situation.

“Because people at the sector level will look at the coloured map and say ‘this property is located here’ or there instead of going house by house,” said Kaliningondo.

In May, RRA and Carnegie Mellon University Africa signed an MoU that provided for technical cooperation.

Speaking then, Richard Tusabe, the RRA Commissioner General, noted that deploying IT to deliver good quality service resonates with the thinking of the top leadership of Rwanda.

 “The use of information technology is driving the way RRA thinks about its service delivery and internal processes,” he said.

In the last three years RRA has improved its data analytics capability through development of its data warehouse and business intelligence systems, according to the tax body officials.

RRA has since realised that it needs to expand its capabilities in the areas of I.T and data science in order to take a modern approach to tax administration, they say.

What the students say...

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Bob Rugambwa

Bob Rugambwa, ‘My RRA’ Project

“This environment provided by RRA is great. I enjoy what I am working on. I expected it was going to be good, and it is good. The project is very challenging and that is good for learning. It is a great addition to what we have been learning in school.”

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14992081891
Fabiola Uwashema

Fabiola Uwashema ‘My RRA’ Project

“It is my first time to work on such a big project. It is challenging. But knowing that it will impact many people is very exciting.”

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14992082501
Hood Mukibi

Hood Mukibi, Cyber Security Project

“The project seeks to assess cyber security measures implemented at RRA with a view of enhancing them. The environment at RRA is good because I am able to apply what I learn in school. It gives you a chance to deploy technology as a solution.”

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14992083251
Yvonne Wambui

Yvonne Wambui, Data Analytics Project

“The project is challenging. You learn a lot. It is a  learning opportunity. We have been offered real environment which is different from the classroom.”

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Kenneth Mwebesa, Local Government Tax Project

“I am getting to know the world of taxation and its interface with IT systems. It gives me a wider view of how I can apply my IT skills.”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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