28 January 2013

Rwanda: RRA Marks World Customs Day

OFFICIALS FROM Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), partners and importers gathered in Kigali on Saturday to celebrate World Customs Day.

"RRA customs services department is joining the rest of international customs administrations to mark this year's celebration, which is guided by a theme "Innovation for Customs Progress" as a guiding tool in the implementation of trade facilitation initiatives aimed at improving customs operations," said RRA Commissioner General Ben Kagarama.

He said the world business community requires revenue administrations and customs in particular, to strongly improve service delivery and it is imperative that RRA customs services department strengthen its role in championing the use of IT.

According to Kagarama, once the ICT is adopted by customs and its stakeholders, there will be a considerable reduction of the clearance time, unnecessary delays thus reducing the cost of doing business in Rwanda and the whole region.

He demanded that taxpayers embrace ICT facilities and said that in most cases the response has not been so impressive despite the huge investment undertaken by the government.

"In some cases, some tax payers have decided to abuse them. For example, we have come across cases of undervaluation, under declaration and other forms of fraud," Kagarama said.

Kagarama also warned some customs and clearance agents of punitive action, following unethical behaviours like corruption, under declarations, under evaluation and weak compliance and integrity that have been reported.

Information from RRA indicates that from July to December in 2012, the customs target was Rwf 90.015 billion while the collection was Rwf 99.441billion, representing an increase of 10 per cent.

According to a tax payer at the function, although customs agents do a great job, they still have a lot to do.

"We appreciate the way we are cooperating with customs agents but some of them still need to promote integrity as tax payers can easily corrupt a customs staff," said a tax payer who asked to remain anonymous.

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