In a bid to recover government revenue, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is set to hold a major public auction for goods that have been confiscated by its Revenue Protection Department (RPD).
Also lined up for auction is unclaimed merchandise from RRA’s Customs Department that has stayed for more than 3 months in the RRA’s warehouse.
Scheduled for early end of this and early next month, smuggled auction items include motor vehicles, motorcycles, and cartons of liquor, spirits, wines and furniture.
RRA says it is being forced to auction the merchandise after expiry of a grace period stretching to almost six months without the goods being claimed by the respective owners.
The auction is intended to minimize tax losses as smugglers continue to evade tax through the illicit trade.
“Even if you ask; the owners are aware about the auction because we first carry out extensive consultations. The Law provides for only three months but we give them room,” Stephen Zawadi, the acting Director for Tax Payer Services Department told Business Times yesterday.
Zawadi also mentioned that for smuggled goods the owners are obliged to follow provisions of the law including paying fines in order to secure their property.
“If things are discovered to have entered the country illegally unless the taxpayer is willing to clear the taxes and the fine that comes with it, goods can not be released,” he said.
Information from RPD indicates that liquors like wines and spirits, bitengi fabrics are often smuggled into the country (using informal channels) from DR Congo, Tanzania while general merchandise originates from Uganda. The list also includes motor vehicles that are smuggled into the country from neighboring countries.
RRA has intensified enforcement measures with regard to smuggling to recover government revenue including intensifying land and lake surveillance as well as monitoring goods under customs control.
Last year the tax body acquired two speed boats that will facilitate anti-smuggling campaign along Lake Kivu.
Merchandise from RRA’s Customs Department includes generators, books, water heaters, camping mattresses, clothing, furniture and electronic gadgets.
The public auction will take place at Magerwa , Gikondo EDA platform