Traders in the border town of Rubavu have appealed to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to protect them from the increasing number of smugglers in the area in order for their businesses to survive.
Rubavu borders the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) town of Goma.
The traders made the call yesterday during the Value Added Tax (VAT) campaign where RRA officials were meeting with traders in an effort to register their business into the VAT system as well as complying with taxation regulations.
“We notice that there is a high rate of smuggling which affects registered businesses in this area, but we have put up measures to minimize this practice,” said Peter Ruyumbu, the Commissioner in charge of Quality Assurance RRA.
Ruyumbu added that joint efforts between RRA, the National Police and the army, which patrol Rwanda-DRC border, have helped minimize smuggling although there is still a lot to be done.
“In DRC, goods are sold cheaply hence people disregard the cross-border trade regulations and once these goods cross into Rwanda, smugglers sell them cheaply leading us to make losses,” said Louise Umimana, one the traders who was visited by RRA.
The countrywide VAT campaign which had yesterday extended to Rubavu, aims at encouraging traders whose annual turnover is above Rwf20m to register with RRA VAT system.
The VAT campaign which is a door to door operation also attracts discussions between the business community and RRA as a way of identifying business challenges and possible ways of mitigating them.
Ruyumbu stressed the need for tax compliance by the traders because it eases their business activities in relation to tax authorities as well as contributing to the country’s economic development.