The government will engage all traders as it moves to intensify the elimination of the domestic non-tariff barriers that continue to impede international trade.
This follows a report by the National Monitoring Committee (NMC) last week, which indicated that Rwandan traders were still facing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) at the country’s entry points and other areas - a challenge usually cited in other regional countries.
NMC was instituted to look into the matter and conducted its survey on NTBs in both Rwanda and Uganda.
“For the case of domestic NTBs, by next month, we will have engaged all the stakeholders like Kigali City, the National Police, and Rwanda Revenue Authority, among others, to discuss and come up with common ways of removing all these restrictions,” said Vincent Safari, the committee’s coordinator.
He said that if all restrictions are removed, it would help advance the business climate, not only in the country, but the region as well.
Some of the restrictions highlighted in the report include complaints from transporters that they are stopped at Rugende, just outside Kigali, along the Kayonza highway, for at least five hours before they are allowed to enter the capital.
They also blame Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) customs officials at the Cyanika, Gatuna and Kagitumba border posts for complicating the tax clearance process.
At these border posts, they say imports worth over Rwf 1 million can only be cleared in Kigali, or with special consent from the Commissioner General of RRA, which the traders find time-consuming.
Theodore Murenzi, the Secretary General of Rwanda Truckers’ Association welcomed the move saying that it would ease doing business.
“As traders, we prefer working without challenges; if they have agreed to resolve all these challenges, it is good news,” he said.
He noted that some traders apportion blame to NTBs for failure to secure bank loans claiming these lead to forfeiture in reimbursing the loans that should normally be paid at the end of the month.
Glycerine Umubyeyi, the Head of Export and Transit Unit at RRA, said that they plan to double the value of imports that can be cleared at the border points to Frw 2 million.