•Extends working hours to 16
Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Customs and Excise Department yesterday announced the opening of their counters on Saturdays and also extending their daily working hours to 16. Traditionally, they have been working five days a week, twelve hours a day.
The Saturday operations which were announced by the RRA Deputy Commissioner General for Customs, Eugene Torero, will start from 8 am to 1 pm.
This effort is geared towards the implementation of a 24-hour operation that was set by the East African Community to enhance service delivery in the region.
Addressing journalists following the launch of the weekend operations, Torero said that the tax body took the decision to work on Saturdays in order to harmonise services with the rest of the East Africa.
“The reason for this new arrangement is not only to better services but also promote legitimate trade, the safety of the exit and entry of products, and compilation of trade statistics for economic planning,” said Torero.
The move by RRA to increase working hours is partly to implement the recommendations bythe Seamless Transport Committee, EAC Customs Union and Heads of States Summit to open border posts for 24 hours.
Torero however said that the shift from traditional working hours to a 24 hour schedule is a process implemented in phases until all stakeholders (EAC Partner States) are ready to fully adopt the schedule.
He said that the plan to increase hours of operation at Gatuna border post to 16 hrs a day divided into 3 shifts has registered positive results since September with 7,352 cargo trucks entering the country compared to about 5,711 that used to be registered in the traditional working hours.
He added that the Customs office has streamlined operations to ensure speedy clearance of goods, a move he said would eliminate bureaucracy and unnecessary delays which traders have always complained about.
“We have configured a database with parameters which keeps records on taxpayers so that compliant taxpayers can have their goods cleared in a record 38 minutes,” revealed Torero.
He disclosed that RRA has computerised most operations in a bid to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the Customs Services department through enhanced management controls, training, increased accountability and the expansion of computerization.
The database keeps track of client’s tax records, categorising them into ‘Super, Green, and Blue’ Channels depending on their tax compliance, which he said will help in easing work.
He however said that the time delay in clearance of goods for clients whose records are not readily available has been largely reduced from 3 days and 10 hours last year.