Rwanda easing cross-border trade

Government is in a move to ease the conduct of cross border business. Relative stakeholders have stepped up measures to reduce administrative procedures, the time spent and the costs for trading across borders.
Behind doing business reform: Riepa’s Francis Gatare and RRA’s Eugène Torero.
Behind doing business reform: Riepa’s Francis Gatare and RRA’s Eugène Torero.

Government is in a move to ease the conduct of cross border business. Relative stakeholders have stepped up measures to reduce administrative procedures, the time spent and the costs for trading across borders.

According to the coordinator, Doing Business Reforms in Rwanda, Frank Twagira some of these measures are to be implemented by next month while others within the course of June this year.

Twagira said that as a result the country’s cross border trade rankings may improve to two digits. A statement from Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (Riepa) says, “Rwandan firms face significant problems in exporting and importing making them less competitive in global markets.”

Through its trade logistics advisory programme, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is helping the government of Rwanda to reform. A team from IFC was recently in the country to help to streamline the regulations and procedures for trade.

Reforms

To speedup the importation process, members of the Trade Working Group agreed that traders start assessing (tax and duties), themselves, declare goods and pay charges prior to arrival.

Another reform suggested that, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) starts preferential treatment to tax complaint traders.

Riepa also added that this arrangement, consignments allocated to the Green or Blue Channels, will not be subjected to any form of customs examination and will be free to proceed to the importers’ premises.

Different stakeholders including the National Bank of Rwanda and Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) have agreed step up measure to streamline procedures of doing business. For example RBS and Customs are seeking to immediately coordinate a common payment system.

“All of these measures will substantially reduce the administrative procedures, time and costs of trading across borders in the short term. They will also encourage an attractive investment climate,” the statement says.

Françis Gatare, the Director General of Riepa, said that, “It is imperative that we improve our ranking in the World Bank ‘Doing Business’ assessment. We are confident that the proposed reforms will go a long way in improving our performance in cross border trade and market our country as an investment destination of choice.”

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