Preparations for Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) 10th Anniversary and 7th Tax Payers’ Day celebrations are in final stages.
Apparently, the tax administration headquarters at Kimuhura is a busy place with contractors putting final touches on facilities to be used by over 1,000 invited guests.
The walkways have been cleaned. The ever sparkling spotless window glasses were still being cleaned. At a distance, a large tent that will accommodate all stakeholders was being put up.
At the main entrance, two bright banners bearing RRA’s new logo with an inscription—taxes for growth and development welcome visitors.
It is here that billions of francs which fund government development programmes including Vision 2020 are collected.
The vision is a government economic development strategy that aims at ridding the country of ignorance disease and poverty by year 2020. With this agenda, it’s hoped that the per capita income of Rwandans will grow from $220 in 2000 to $900 by 2020.
RRA is on course. Statistics from the tax administrations’ planning unit shows that since its inceptions in 1988, the tax body collected Frw68.2 billion and last year, the treasury bagged Frw253 billion.
The success story is attributed to the support President Paul Kagame, the Government of Rwanda and compliant taxpayers have played in the campaign to change the public attitude towards paying taxes and fighting corruption.
The British Government has also been instrumental in nurturing the country’s revenue authority. Currently customs border stations have been automated and operations of clearing and forwarding agencies streamlined. The customer care services have also greatly improved.
“Customs declarations were done manually while duties and taxes were collected by customs “receveur” (duty collector) before computerisation,” the statement describes how customs used to operate.
As a result, goods could take weeks and weeks before been cleared by customs officials. It is also alleged that by then high level of corruption and embezzlement had engulfed people trusted with collecting revenue.
The Asycuda++ system introduced in customs in 2004 has been rolled out, partly improving revenue collection.
RRA management says they target to collect Frw275 billion this year.
Ease doing business
Management of RRA promises to transform the tax body into a 21st Century taxation centre of service oriented and developmental excellence.
“When we ease doing business, more investors are attracted, the economy can grow therefore we gain economic independence,” Eugène Torero, Deputy Commissioner RRA said.
Cargo scanners are planned to be install at customs points to assist in expediting the clearance of cargo. He said six scanners will be installed before the year ends.
RRA says that using non-intrusive equipment saves time and resources.
“Not only will it help the Government of Rwanda and Rwanda Revenue Authority to facilitate trade but also it will increase compliance with customs requirements,” the statement from RRA says.
Plans for a cargo tracking system along the Northern corridor to eliminate roadblocks and check points are also underway.
When installed, it is hoped that the system will tremendously reduce the use of weighbridges along the corridor.
The modernization plan will also see a centralised automated system where all clearance is planned. With this system, the process of accessing information is simplified.
A One-Stop border post and trade facilitation concept whereby neighbouring countries will utilize one border post for all border clearance services to avoid duplication and save time is also in the pipeline.
As for Burundi a model border post has already been constructed at the border. The statement says bilateral arrangements between Rwanda and Uganda on the establishment of One Stop Border post at Gatuna/ Katuna are underway.
A feasibility study for a one-stop border post with Tanzania at Rusumo has been conducted.