As the country celebrated the Tax Payer’s Day yesterday, Rwandans should be proud by their tax contributions which help finance the National Budget.
For the first time, more than half of the budget was financed by internal revenue.
Much of the money was raised by Rwanda Revenue Authority and this is an indication that the journey to self reliance is on course.
There is no doubt the tireless efforts RRA has played. They have shifted from manual collection of taxes to adoption of ICT. They recently adopted the state of the art system - ASYCUDA++, a computerized customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures.
The system has improved the time taken to clear goods.
Last year, RRA surpassed its target by eight percent.
This year, RRA set an annual target of Rwf374.9 billion, but in the first half Rwf192.2 billion has been collected, already surpassing their mid-way target by more that Rwf 12 billion.
This may be good news, but there are still people within the community who dodge their responsibility of paying taxes. If everyone paid their taxes on time, the targets would even be higher.
Rwanda needs money to finance her priority projects. Funding is required for infrastructure development, nationwide health delivery, provision of education, providing shelter for vulnerable groups, security, increased electrification in rural areas and keeping our city clean.
In a bid to achieve this, taxpayers must understand that it is their responsibility as citizens of Rwanda to pay their taxes on time. Running after tax defaulters is not only a waste of RRA’s valuable time, but it also eats up tax payers’ money.
On one hand, RRA should invest more in sensitization campaigns that will make people understand that as citizens, they need to contribute to the country’s coffers. On the other hand they should enforce harsh punitive measures against tax defaulters.
If all Rwandans become tax compliant, there is no doubt Rwanda’s dream of self reliance will one day become a reality.