The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: E-Billing Machines - Traders Should Look to Long-Term Gains

When Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) introduced electronic billing system in February last year, it was after assessing and weighing several pros against the cons of the system.

The machines are to facilitate RRA in calculating VAT. It also facilitates traders by recording stock. The use of the machines is also in part to discourage unscrupulous taxpayers who would engage in tax evasion by not issuing tax invoices to their clients.

Like a trader already using the machine said, you will not be lining up at RRA offices to find out how much tax you owe the revenue body. The machine does that and you can know how much tax you owe after every transaction. What better deal could still be there than in embracing the digital future today?

Unfortunately, it appears the majority of traders are apprehensive. Media reports indicate that only 800 out of 10,000 taxpayers are using the e-billing machines, forcing RRA to extend the deadline to March 31 to give them more time to adopt the machines.

Whereas being apprehensive would be appreciated considering that it is a new digital world traders are being told to walk into, some excuses smack of selfishness. It is true that a good trader is a tested miser, but to complain about paying for service of Rwf480,000 that would mint more advantages is taking one's measly traits a tad too far.

Traders ought to look beyond immediate returns. The machine is not like a single-use-only hardware, but will be used to serve interests it is designed for over time.

To decry the current price of the e-billing machine is to think of it as some tissue paper, which is sad for the economy and the technological advancement government is trying to realise.

At the end of the day, even expecting RRA to give the machines free of charge is a long call; after all, no buyer walks to your warehouse to ask for free goods.

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