The Revenue Protection department (RPD), this week, named five suspects who were involved in smuggling goods into the country, claiming that the goods were in transit to neighbouring countries.
According to RPD, some of the suspects were caught offloading the goods, valued at Rwf 40 million at a ware house in Kigali. And, after they were caught, one of them attempted to bribe an RPD officer with Rwf 5 Million.
Rwanda is working hard to wean itself off aid by laying concrete mechanisms that will enable its citizens to fully fund the country’s budget. Needless to say, the biggest source of domestic revenue is taxes.
It is, therefore, disturbing to learn that traders continue to seek ways of smuggling in goods in order to evade taxes.
Paying taxes is an obligation, not a favour to your country.
Although domestic revenues have seen a steady rise over the last 16 years, we can do much better— even with the current tax base — if taxes were paid accordingly.
Taxpayers must fully honour their obligations. And, when smugglers are caught, they should be dealt with decisively. They do not only cheat the government of its dues, but they also create an unfavourable environment for doing business, as smuggled goods present for unfair competition.
Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), and other stakeholders must remain vigilant since the fight to eliminate smuggling is continuous.