RRA lauded for innovation

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is one of the most efficient tax bodies on the continent due to its openness to electronic innovations.

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is one of the most efficient tax bodies on the continent due to its openness to electronic innovations.

The observation was made by Logan Wort, the Executive Secretary of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), who was in Kigali to attend the body’s convention.

ATAF is currently under the chairmanship of Richard Tusabe, the Commissioner General of RRA.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Wort commended RRA for employing automation in tax collection, saying that innovations such as electronic tax declaration and electronic billing machines would pay off heavily in the long run.

“RRA is one of the most organised (tax authorities) on the continent – and its understanding of Rwanda’s tax base and tax knowledge is totally resounding,” he said.

ATAF advocates for efficient and effective tax administration to improve the living standards of Africans, and champions the goal to increase the continent’s ratio of tax to GDP from 18 per cent to 24 per cent by the year 2020.

Wort believes that increasing the tax base, rather than merely increasing taxes must be the way forward for African countries if that target is to be realised.

“We cannot force countries to do what we think is right, but we can pick the best practices from different countries and suggest them to governments,” he said.

“What we say is that rather than increasing taxes, reduce tax gap by registering more tax payers. Understand your tax leakages by increasing your tax investigations and enforcements. Automate your tax processes as fast as possible and reduce the involvement of individuals – this will reduce space for corruption.”

During the meeting in Kigali, a new Masters Programme in tax administration was announced in conjunction with Berlin School of Economics – aimed at African tax officials.

ATAF is also in the process of establishing its own tax academy and a continental research network.