Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has intensified its campaign to sesitise Rwandans on benefits of joining the East African Community (EAC). The process that started 6th March this year comes at a time Rwanda is set to join the East African Community Customs Union (EACCU).
Rwanda became a member of the EAC on June 18th last year at the Heads of States Summit in Kampala, Uganda.
Records from the country’s tax body show that at least 1,000 opinion leaders from 20 districts including Eastern, Northern and Southern Provinces have completed the sensitisation process. The group will also help disseminate information about the EAC to others.
“Joining the East African Community Customs Union is not a choice. It comes with joining the East African Community,” Mary Baine, RRA Commissioner General said in an interview with The New Times at her office in Kimihurura.
With the EACCU, member states will eliminate tariffs, all levies and surcharges on imports from the EAC economic bloc. This means Rwanda will stop levying its import tariffs and instead apply the EAC common external tariff (CET).
But the CET is lower than the national tariff by 5 per cent.
This has drawn concerns among some opinion leaders countrywide.
Though Baine some how agrees that the Treasury may experience a shortfall in customs revenue, she hastens to say the loss will be in the short term.
She said in the long run, more income tax and VAT will be collected as business among partner states will boom. This, according to the Commissioner General, will boost intra East African trade and cushion the country against any revenue shortfalls.
“The equation will therefore balance,” she said.