The new method will also reduce the need for manual inspections and shorten inspection time
Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) has said that it will import three cargo mobile scanners for its customs department by next month to facilitate trade logistics.
According to one of the tax body’s top officials the move is expected to ease doing business in the country through facilitation of cargo inspection on trucks.
It will allow screening of a cargo truck without necessarily offloading it or showing its load in detail for comparison with the customs declaration. The new method will also reduce the need for manual inspections and shorten inspection time.
“We expect the scanners on 14th May (next month). We shall employ them at Katuna (Rwanda-Uganda boarder), Rusumo (Rwanda-Tanzania boarder) and Gikondo,” Eugene Torero, Deputy Commissioner General and Director of Customs said.
Torero made the revelations during the Doing Business reforms’ meeting organized by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
The RDB said that Rwanda is targeting a double digit position in this year’s doing business World Bank rankings. Last year, the Doing Business World Bank report ranked Rwanda among the top 20 reformers.
Torero said that the Rwanda customs department in partnership with other East African customs bodies is planning to acquire electronic cargo tracking devices that will help to detect transit cargo diversions. But its implementation will depend on the pace of other countries.
Other developments that could help increase trading across borders and perhaps help Rwanda achieve its doing business target include the introduction of integrated border management, issuing tax clearances online, employing e-filing and e-payment, and introduction of the Bloc Management System (BMS).
Earmarking the BMS is one of the strategies to reduce the ever rampant informal sector and to enhance taxpayers’ compliance in Rwanda, as a means of reaching all the clients.
“These are projects that will take longer. It will also depend on whether the central bank has a real gross payment system where the money can be instantly banked on the national treasury,” Torero said.
In order to facilitate trading across boarders, last year RRA extended working hours up to 16 hours a day during normal working days and half day on Saturday.
According to Torero, the tax body has expanded the blue channel, a risk based selection of low risk consignments to be released from customs control immediately without any customs verification.
The facility allows traders to pay customs duties after the goods are subsequently sold. He said the facility increased from 42 percent to 61 percent of total transactions, representing 61 to 230 companies.
As a result it is said to have reduced the time from four days to one and 19 hours.
RRA’s Commissioner General Mary Baine told delegates attending the just conclude International Tax Dialogue at the Kigali Serena Hotel that to ease tax administration RRA will demarcate areas in which they conduct business into sizeable and manageable areas called blocks.
”Paying taxes should be viewed as the only reliable and sustainable way to liberate Rwanda economically,” Baine said.
According to RRA in a bid to facilitate trade and promote business growth in Rwanda in partnership with PSF, the tax collecting authority has established a dialogue in form of Tax Issues Forum (TIF) where tax issues are tabled with the aim of finding a solution jointly.
RRA has signed an agreement with Bank of Kigali that will allow all clients of the bank to pay their taxes at BK instead of queuing at the customs office. This agreement started with effect from 1st January 2009.”