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RRA-CMU-Rwanda partnership yield results

By Emmanuel Rutayisire: Ten interns from Carnegie Mellon University, Rwanda are currently working with RRA on five projects that will further efficiency in tax transactions and enhance cyber security and e-learning at the tax authority. The internship programme is the result of a recently signed MoU between CMU-R and RRA. The postgraduate students, who are predominantly drawn from the discipline of software engineering, will be at RRA for 10 weeks ending in August. The projects they are working on include:  software development of a Single Taxpayer Platform for RRA (My RRA), Cyber Security, E-learning, and Inclusion of geographical information in Local Government Tax system and Data Analytics. ‘My RRA’ will allow taxpayers to manage different tax accounts from one platform, making it easier for them to follow up on tax transactions via a variety of mobile gadgets as long as they are connected to the internet. Easing tax processes is in line with RRA’s philosophy of improving tax compliance while facilitating trade. “RRA is responsible for collection of large amounts of funds through tax. We depend on data to do this, and so we take data security very seriously. Messing up with data would cripple our capacity to collect taxes and do damage to our reputation,” says Mr. Jean Louis Kaliningondo, IT Strategic Advisor to RRA Commissioner General. Inclusion of geographical information in the Local Government Tax system will enable a display of revenue information on a map, while simultaneously doing an analysis of that data. According to Mr. Kaliningondo, with this system enforcement teams can locate non-compliant fixed assets remotely. “Our people at sector level will be able to look at the colored map and say this property is located here or there instead of going house by house,” he says, adding that this technology will save RRA time and money. In May this year, RRA and CMU- R signed an MoU that provided for technical cooperation. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Tusabe Richard, RRA Commissioner General noted that deploying IT to deliver quality service resonates with the thinking of Rwanda’s top leadership.  “The use of Information Technology is driving the way RRA thinks about its service delivery and internal processes,” he said. RRA has long been focused on expanding its capabilities in the areas of I.T and data science in order to take a modern approach to tax administration. In the last three years alone, RRA has improved its data analytics capability through development of its data warehouse and Business Intelligence systems. This is what interns say about their moments at RRA and projects they are working on: Bob Rugambwa ‘My RRA’ Project “The project is very challenging and is a great addition to what we have been learning in school. I am also impressed by the working environment provided by RRA.” Uwashema Fabiola ‘My RRA’ Project “It is my first time to work on such a big project. Knowing that it will impact many people is very exciting.” Yvonne Wambui Data Analytics Project “The project offers us the opportunity to practice in a real-world environment which is different from the classroom, and we are learning a lot. Kenneth Mwebesa Local Government Tax Project “I am getting to know the world of tax and its interface with IT systems. It gives me a wider view of how I can apply my IT skills.” Hood Mukibi Cyber Security Project “The project is to assess cyber security measures implemented at RRA with a view of enhancing them. The environment at RRA is good because I am able to apply what I learn in school. It gives you a chance to deploy technology as a solution.”

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