Modernisation of border posts for better trade and tax performance
By Emmanuel RUTAYISIRE
The newly inaugurated La Corniche One Stop Border Post facility at the border of Rwanda and DRC is another milestone for Rwanda in her efforts to build a competent and well-organised customs service capable of ensuring a high level of compliance with revenue goals and regulatory requirements in addition to facilitating legitimate movement of goods across borders.
Other border posts recently upgraded to suit this purpose are those of Rusumo Kagitumba and Nemba at the borders with Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, respectively. And, Gatuna at border with Uganda is under construction.
La Corniche border boasts of ample and ultramodern space for all services offered at a customs area, including animal inspection, customs and immigration, among others, all housed under one roof.
Mr. William Musoni, RRA Deputy Commissioner for Customs notes that this kind of modernisation means improved quality of service and faster clearance of goods, resulting in cuts on time and money costs.
“At Rusumo and Kagitumba, customs procedures have drastically reduced because repetition was removed; previously if cargo underwent 2 procedures in Rwanda and repeated them in Tanzania that would be a total of 4 procedures. This was not good for business and tax.”
The border between Rwanda and DRC is characterized by a heavy traffic of small cross border traders.
The Private Sector Federation Vice President of Rubavu district Mr. Bazimaziki Pierre Damien argues from a strategic point of view:
“Some 45 000 persons go through this area daily, most of them small traders dealing in types and volumes of goods that are not taxed, but eventually they grow. As they graduate to the formal sector and into the tax net there must be facilities to sustain that growth; this new facility is one of those.”
This modernisation of customs infrastructure and processes in Rwanda is tied to an overall national philosophy of facilitating business through constant improvements in trade policy environment; promoting transparent practices in trade by reducing inducements and windows for corruption, simplifying processes and improving infrastructures.
In the last few years RRA has embarked on an aggressive automation process to further ease compliance with tax obligations. In customs service, introduction of the Rwanda Electronic Single Window has reduced on time release of cargo and relieved businesses of many non-tax costs that used to be incurred during customs clearance.
In May, the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) that enables online monitoring of cargo from the port of Mombasa was adopted.
"It eliminates the manual processes that we’ve been applying to ensure that the revenue is not leaked within the supply chain,” said RRA Commissioner General Mr TUSABE Richard speaking at the launch of RECTS