Thursday, 17th November, 2022 Kigali, Rwanda: The East African Business Council held discussions with Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Mr. Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali on taxes, elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers for increased facilitation of trade across East African borders.
Speaking during the high level dialogue Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC CEO appreciated the reforms undertaken by the Government of the Republic of Rwanda that has ignited economic recovery and growth at 10.9% Gross Domestic Product.
Following the reopening of the Katuna-Gatuna OSBP on 31st January 2022, latest statistics show 160 trucks are cleared daily, UGX 470 million tax collections per month and 1000 people cross daily.
Mr. Kalisa called for harmonized road toll fees by EAC Partners States in order to ease of doing business for transporters. Rwanda has a fixed rate of USD 76 and USD152 for small and large trucks respectively, while Uganda charges USD 10 per 100 KMs.
He also urged harmonization of domestic taxes in the EAC region to avoid distortion and create a level playing field for businesses. He urged the Food & Drug Authority to fast-track issuance of import permits and Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) certificates to importers into Rwanda.
On his part, Mr. Matia Etedu from the Ministry of EAC Affairs – Republic of Uganda said Uganda looks forward to deploying trade facilitation agencies to the Rwanda side of the Gatuna border.
The Commissioner General, Mr. Pascal Bizimana said that Rwanda Revenue Authority has strategized to undertake digital transformation for better service provision.
Mr. Pascal Bizimana elaborated that research shows tax contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Rwanda is at 15.9%, Uganda 11.9% and Tanzania in11.6%.
He stated that the EAC Secretariat and respective Ministries to have been tasked to hasten harmonization of road toll fees in the region.
Denial of preferential market access for products enjoying duty remission schemes and the implementation of East African Standards (500 grade) by Rwanda on steel bars and Cement have been misinterpreted as a Non-Tariff Barriers.
Mr. Pascal Bizimana elaborated that Rwanda Revenue Authority is dedicated to facilitate intra-EAC and Africa trade.
Mr. MWUMVANEZA Felicien, Commissioner Customs urged businesses in East Africa companies to export to the continent following the roll out of the Guided Trade Initiative under the African Continental Free Trade Area.