Ahead of the week’s budget reading Business Times’ Berna Namata headed to the streets to find out what Rwandans would want the Budget to address. Below are their views;
Lawson Naibo Chief of Operations, Bank of Kigali
Regarding infrastructure development, we like the government to strengthen Public Private Partnerships (PPP); it would ease the burden as far as government spending is concerned. At this time when the world is talking about sovereign deb. If government continues to spend, there will be a time when the debt will be too high creating a burden to citizens.
Yes we need spending as well but also allow the private sector to partner, this would limit the government deficit, limit the amount of taxes. There is no way we can encourage PP without a proper regulatory framework. Until this is done PPP will not take off.
Fabrice Imanairafasha (MTN airtime salesman)
I think would like government reduce charges on airtime because right now they are very high. The prices of airtime cards were increased last year in November and this reduced our profit margin. For each Frw5,000 MTN airtime card, my profit is Rwf170, this is very little.
Francis Egbuson, Chief Commercial Officer, Rwandatel
We would like to see a reduction on consumption tax; this will help drive penetration. Some people may argue that removing Value Added Tax (VAT) on mobile phones is better but even without VAT the cheapest handset will be between Rwf8000-7000.
This is still expensive. We would also like to see less regulation in terms of making services more available as opposed to a regime of dos and don’ts that gives notifications. The other taxes on telecom sector are also still many and high.
Teogene Mugiranama, Salesman Phone Accessories from Dubai (Kigali’s Business Hub- Mateos)
I would like to see government help us to easily access loans. This is because with the additional capital we can develop and expand our businesses. We are still feeling the impact of the global financial crisis, money is very scarce and our sales have been going down.
Francois Bugabo, Textile trader
We want government to reduce taxes on imported textiles. It is very difficult for us to make profit because we purchase these textiles relatively cheap from neighbouring countries but because the taxes are high in Rwanda we do not make profit.
We have not benefited from the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union because our products are manufactured outside the region.
Richard Tusabe MTN’s Chief Finance Officer
Excise tax is the only concern. We hope this will not be increased as it will negatively impact on subscriber growth and economic development of the country.
Kenyatta John Baptiste (Motorcyclist)
Tax reforms in particular a reduction on the non-compliance costs. This is discouraging many of us from doing business.
It is not right to assume that people deliberately evade tax, sometimes people forget. When such a person is penalized heavily yet they have limited resources they end up opting out of the business and this puts Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and government at a loss.
Government should also concentrate on tax education to improve compliance because sometimes we are willing to pay but get confused by the tax structure. The taxes should also be reduced as we have so, many taxes to pay to different agencies. Other than paying RRA we have to pay to RURA.