Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) says it will meet its target to collect over Rwf50 billion in district revenues in the current fiscal year given the amount of money collected in the first six months of the financial year.
The revelation was made yesterday by RRA Commissioner-General Richard Tusabe while appearing before the parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget and National Patrimony along with the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete.
Members of the committee met the officials ahead of their field trip around the country to assess the current implementation of plans laid out in the National Budget for the current fiscal year 2017/18.
Their trip is scheduled from February 4-19 and it will take them to all the 30 districts across the country where they will assess how districts are doing with the execution of their budgets and whether they have any specific challenges, especially regarding the implementation of development projects.
“We will check whether there are any issues that need to be addressed going forward with budget execution as we go ahead with future budget planning,” said MP Constance Mukayuhi Rwaka, the chairperson of the committee.
One of the MPs’ concerns is whether residents are paying their taxes on time.
Tusabe reassured them that a lot of efforts have been made in that regard.
He said that Rwf19.7 billion was collected in district revenues out of the 19-billion Francs that’s targetted for the first six months of the current financial year.
“When we do forecasts, we believe that we will achieve our target of raising over 50 billion in district taxes,” Tusabe said.
The tax collection body targets to collect Rwf51.5 billion from local governments in the current financial year 2017/18, an increase of Rwf3.6 billion or 7.5 per cent in comparison to the last financial year.
The RRA chief said that the Rwf19.7 billion collected from district revenues so far is an early indication that the body will meet its target for district revenue collection in the current fiscal year.
The legislators say they need to conduct the assessments ahead of the forthcoming budget revision whereby the government will table in Parliament its revisions for the 2017/18 budget.
Under the current National Budget, which is worth Rwf2.09 trillion, the government sought to significantly invest in infrastructure projects such as building roads and airports, extending electricity to more areas, providing more water resources in urban areas, and preparing more industrial parks upcountry.
Among the programmes MPs in the committee on Budget and National Patrimony are aiming to look at is the household Ubudehe categories (social stratification)with some saying that the categorisation has been abused as people use it for all kinds of purposes.
“There is a challenge right now where every citizen wants to be in category one because they want their children to qualify for support to pay for higher education. It should be clear what Ubudehe is used for,” said MP Theobald Mporanyi.
MP Anita Mutesi agreed, saying that the government should check whether basing education support on Ubudehe isn’t problematic.
“Most people would prefer basing on students’ marks for higher education support instead of looking at Ubudehe,” she said.
MP Francesca Tengera said that Ubudehe categories are being abused with everything that is being introduced in communities basing its fees rate for people’s payments on Ubudehe.
“Something needs to be done to correct this trend and show what Ubudehe categories are really for,” she said.
In response to the issue of Ubudehe misuse, officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs (MINALOC) told the MPs that a monitoring and evaluation information system will be introduced to make exact individual economic profiles of citizens known.