RWAMAGANA — Eastern Province remitted revenue of about Frw4.9b to the national coffers last year. This figure was well above the Frw2b figure projected.
This was revealed during celebrations to mark 7th anniversary of the taxpayers’ day in the Eastern Province under the theme “Be an exemplary taxpayer so as to develop your nation”.
Addressing the audience, that included residents and other dignitaries from across the country, the Governor Dr.
Ephraim Kabaija commended the increase in tax revenue saying it is a symbol of good governance the country has attained.
“An increase in taxes collected is an indication of improved security and good governance in the country,” Kabaija said.
He however cautioned against complacency and therefore urged Mayors of the eastern districts to double the efforts by identifying more taxpayers so that the province generates more revenue for development.
“Reports reaching me indicate that out of every 100 there is only one taxpayer. For instance the whole of Kayonza district has 63 taxpayers and Kirehe has 73,” Kabaija wondered.
He urged the Mayors to multiply the numbers by ten times so that the province remains on top in taxes collected.
The Eastern Province deserves to lead other provinces in generating taxes owing to the available resources there, Kabaija noted.
He gave a one month ultimatum to the Mayor of Rwamagana to renovate the town and make it more commercial arguing that it is in Rwamagana where trade started long ago than in Kigali but the town has remained behind in development.
Turning to tax payers, Kabaija appealed to them to always pay taxes without delay. He further urged them to learn English language to enhance their businesses in the rest of the East Africa and other countries where it is widely used.
He tasked local leaders to set up English training centres to this effect. Mary Baine, the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) noted that commemorating the Taxpayers’ Day was instrumental in laying new strategies.
“This is a time to review what has been achieved and to lay strategies for the future. For instance in 1997 when RRA came into existence, it only collected Frw55billion.
Only ten years later (in 2007), RRA managed to collect Frw250billion and contribute 50% of national budget. All this has been achieved due to good leadership, tax reforms, good taxation system and the role of tax payers and tax collectors,” Baine said.
She hailed a good taxpayer saying she or he is incomparable, “because a good taxpayer is the one who has brought us to where we are and who still takes us where we wish to be.”
She predicted that in the next ten years revenues generated through taxes could cover the national budget 100 per cent.
However, she noted, her prediction can not be achieved when there are still tax evasion. She appealed to Rwandans to understand the importance of taxation and to avoid a culture of corruption, tax evasion and deceitful tendencies.