PUBLISHED ON August 20th, 2014

Rwanda set to ease customs procedures

KIGALI, Rwanda – The Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) is ready to implement the Single Customs Territory system across the Northern Corridor writes AGNES BATETA

RRA officials believe this will also help widen the tax base of the country. The Northern Corridor runs from Mombasa and is the major transport link for Rwanda, Uganda and parts of Burundi.

Richard Tusabe, the RRA Commissioner General was recently giving a news conference.

“We have continued to train and sensitize traders about this initiative launched last year which is not promoting trade only in Rwanda, but in Kenya and Uganda, hence helping increase on revenue collections,” Tusabe said.

“People are able to pay from Mombasa port and now we have opened up the Dar-es Salaam port which is promoting trade and helping widen the tax base of the country,” he said.

However, RRA has continued to develop other ways of widening the tax base, all in a bid for RRA to achieve its set targets.

“We want to aggressively expand the tax base by working with the local government to ensure that all traders are registered with the tax administration as per the laws,” Tusabe said.

The body again aims at enhancing Value Added Tax (VAT) invoicing operations and enforcing use of Electronic Billing Machines (EBM) in not only Kigali, but also other trading centres across the country.

“With this we want to bring all the 6,896 tax payers under the EBM system in to the system from the 5,154 we have now,” Tusabe said.

Other strategies developed to help widen the tax base are among others continuing to enhance various initiatives aimed at improving service delivery and the business environment.

Here RRA aims at expanding usage of e-services for filing and payment of taxes, enhancing implementation of the electronic window system, and rolling out the gold card scheme in customs.

Tusabe said, “We want to further improve the collection of local taxes by investing in modern technology that will assist in having a reliable database for collection, audit and enforcement.”

“All these will be possible with educating taxpayers’ to help improve the understanding of tax matters and compliances,” he said.

Revenue performance has continued to register good results. Between July 2013 and June 2014 tax and non-tax revenue amounted to Rwf769billion (about $1 billion) against the set target of Rwf793.2billion $1.1 billion) a 96.9% performance.

This shows growth of revenue collection of 15.9% as compared to the same period fiscal year 2012/13.

Total tax revenue collection was targeted at Rwf782.5billion and RRA managed to collect Rwf758.6billion which is a 96.9% achievement.

Tusabe said, “Economic growth performance slowdown in 2013 which was 4.6% against the projected 6.6% contributed to the above performance.”

The body aims at reducing smuggling by intensifying surveillance and intelligence operation which is again aimed at increasing the tax base of the country.

Tax payers’ day was celebrated on the 13th time with a theme “Invoicing: a basis for taxation and a foundation for Book keeping”, and it was celebrated in all districts across the country.

This day is used as a platform for raising Taxpayers’ awareness which has contributed to increased revenue collection for the past 13 years.

Source URL: East Africa Business Week

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