Effective February this year, Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) will end a four-month grace period given to all cars with foreign registered number plates in Gisenyi town.
In the past, RRA has attempted to phase out all foreign registered vehicles, especially those bearing Democratic Republic of Congo number plates, with little success.
With two weeks left for the law to take its course, car owners are scrambling to have their number plates changed and change the steering wheel from right to left hand.
“Now that the deadline is drawing closer, everyone is under pressure and I am sure they will beat the January time line,” said Patrick Gayawira, RRA coordinator in the Western Province.
Over 90 percent of vehicles in Gisenyi town bear Congolese plates yet they are owned by Rwandans, who the tax body accuses of tax evasion.
Gayawira said that half of the more than 500 cars with foreign plates in Gisenyi had already complied with the requirement, expressing optimism that everyone will have switched to local number plates by the end of January.
“Cars that have been acquired illegally and not cleared in both countries are still causing us trouble, but we are ready to deal with the owners once the deadline passes,” added Gayawira.
He said that it was such people who are pushing for the extension of the deadline, warning there will be no further extension since the grace period was long enough.
The olive branch has been extended to only Rwandans working in DRC, with left-hand drive vehicles. But they will each be required to pay $200 every three months.