Southern Province has set a target of Rwf37.3 billion from tax revenues for the 2019/20 financial year, up from Rwf33.2 billion that was collected in the previous year.
The revelations were made last week during the 'Taxpayers Appreciation Day' celebrations held in Muhanga District where Rwanda Revenue Authority recognised the most compliant taxpayers in the Southern Province.
The Province eyes Rwf9 billion in local government taxes from districts during the same financial year.
Emmanuel K. Gasana, the Governor of the Southern Province, said there have been a lot of discussions with members of the private sector on the best practices that can be applied to growing their businesses and expand the tax base.
"Our province has plenty of business opportunities which the business operators should not take for granted. They need to make the best out of them to boost the economic development of the region and I believe that can play a positive impact in meeting our tax revenue projections," he said.
The province surpassed its revenue collection target for the 2018/2019 financial year, collecting Rwf33.2 billion against the target of Rwf32 billion, which reflects a surplus of Rwf800 million.
The good performance was attributed to various issues, among them, the implementation of ICT-centered service delivery, online declarations and the increase the use of Electronic Billing Machines (EBM) among others.
Gasana hailed taxpayers for their contribution and believes that there's room for improvement.
"The taxes paid played a great role in ensuring citizen-centred welfare and development of the country in general. We need to give our all, do our business with professionalism and avoid corruption and tax fraud to help keep our country's vision on the right track," he said.
Overall, RRA targets to collect over Rwf1559 billion for the financial year 2019/2020.
During the 2018/19 financial year, the tax body collected Rwf1399.5 billion, contributing 54.1 per cent to the national budget.
Aimable Kayigi Habiyambere, the Commissioner for Domestic Taxes at RRA, called for more efforts in improving tax compliance.
"Though there has been an improvement in tax compliance over the years, we still have a long way to go as taxes contribute a lot to the national budget. The progress has been but pretty much efforts are needed so our taxes can finance the national budget at 100 per cent," Kayigi said.
Exemplary taxpayers honoured
'Taxpayers Appreciation Day' celebrations were an opportunity for the revenue body to recognise exemplary efforts and commitments made by taxpayers, especially by declaring and paying taxes on time.
This year, the Day is being celebrated under the theme 'Pay Taxes, Build a Better Rwanda'.
Kayigi said surpassing the tax collection projections would not have been possible if taxpayers weren't responsible for paying taxes and insists that recognizing the most compliant taxpayers will boost compliance.
Former Minister and Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, Francois Kanimba, who now runs a hotel business in Nyamagabe District, was one of the best performing taxpayers recognised for their efforts in declaring and paying taxes on time.
Kanimba said he has always been aware of the importance of paying taxes, a responsibility which he insists is shared by every Rwandan citizen in order to contribute to the national development.
"Paying taxes is everyone's responsibility because they play a commendable role in our country's development. I've been paying taxes accordingly and I keep doing so because I know what is to my country's development. Being honoured among most compliant taxpayers is a motivation to me but it should also be a reminder to everyone who is supposed to pay taxes," he said.