News

Rwanda collects taxes by a mouse click

October 29, 2015

Rwanda Revenue Authority now processes taxes by the click of the mouse, allowing the business community to file and pay taxes instantaneously.

In business terms, time spent on paperwork and footwork translates to lost opportunities to make money.

Businesses in Rwanda used to take an average of 23.5 days to finalize a tax return. Whether registering as a taxpayer, collecting forms, or filing and paying tax, a taxpayer was required to physically go to the Revenue Authority office for manual processing and thereafter to a bank for payment. This bureaucracy left a lot of room for inaccuracies and corruption. Paying taxes was considered to be a major constraint to doing business in Rwanda.

But all this has changed, thanks to the introduction of an online tax filling and payment system in 2012. Funded by the Government of Rwanda and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, the Tax Online system now enables people to file and pay their taxes from the comfort of their homes or offices.

Kôme Nahimana used to work for the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) for five years. The role of taxation as a vehicle of economic development has always been an obvious one to him. As a former employee of RRA, operating on a manual tax system presented him with limitations in providing better services to taxpayers.

“For the longest time, I used to dread the 15th of every month, the 15th being the deadline for filling and paying taxes,” Kôme said. “This day meant volumes of paperwork and endless queues at RRA throughout the day as taxpayers rushed to meet their tax obligations.” Taxpayers risked incurring penalties if they processed their taxes after the 15th of the month deadline.

This manual and outdated tax administration system hampered RRA’s ability to provide high quality services to the business community and other taxpayers. It created a high transaction cost for businesses and also dis-incentivized informal businesses from formalizing their operations. As a result, the Government lacked opportunities to maximize on revenue collection.

Kome now processes taxes for his clients from his office
Kome now processes taxes for his clients from his office.

Today, Kôme is the Managing Director of C & B Consulting, a tax consultancy firm in Kigali. What used to be a challenging business environment has become history. His ability to serve his clients is no longer constrained by RRA’s working hours of 9am to 5pm; he can file and pay taxes any time he wants. The simplicity and accessibility of the Tax Online system has made it possible for his businesses to take on more clients.

“The Tax Online system has dramatically increased my ability to assist multiple clients at the same time. Before, I used to process taxes for my clients by manually filling out forms for each tax type and for each client. Now, I have the convenience of filing taxes electronically for my clients from a simple drop down menu,” said Côme.

Fina Kayisanabo is one of the taxpayers who had to endure the long queues at the RRA. The online system has made things much easier for her. “I really like the new system. It’s very easy to use once you get to understand it. I took the training three times before I understood the system. But it was worth it. Now I no longer have to take time out of work to pay my taxes. I can do it from the comfort of my home,” she said.

Ten of Rwanda’s commercial banks have also implemented the system, allowing electronic payment of taxes through the Tax Online system. By eliminating footwork and paperwork, taxpayers now enjoy the ease of filing and paying taxes electronically from a location of their choice, provided that they have internet access. The time it takes to process various domestic taxes has reduced from an average of 23.5 days to instantaneously. This is helping businesses to save time and costs as they meet their tax obligations. Thanks to the Tax Online System, RRA’s “counters” are now open online 24 hours.

The uptake of electronic tax filing has been huge. Between July 2014 and July 2015, over 50,000 new registered taxpayers filed their taxes electronically compared to just 581 in 2012. Over 20,000 payment transactions were processed online in the same time period, in comparison to 0 in 2012. According to RRA, during the financial year 2014/2015, RRA collected a total of 598 billion Rwanda Francs (about USD 802 million) across eight tax types in comparison to just 360 billion Rwanda Francs (about USD 482 million) in the financial year 2011/2012.

15 December 2015

As this year draws to a close, it is heartening to look back on some of ICF’s projects completed during 2015 and reflect on the ways in which these diverse works are continuing to improve the continent’s business environment and, in the process, boosting the growth of Africa’s private sector. Read More »
15 December 2015

African leaders are working together more and more to drive economic growth and strengthen institutions in order to help the continent’s peoples grow and prosper. With an understanding that collaboration is crucial in encouraging Africa’s continued economic expansion, ICF is working with African governments and the private sector to implement practical solutions in the infrastructure facilitation sector that deliver tangible results. Read More »
15 December 2015

From cooking oil to cars, Sao Tome and Principe, a small island state in the Gulf of Guinea, imports a lot ofits consumables. Over 90% of these imports go through the Sao Tome port. As part of the goods clearing process, importers have to engage with different government border agencies in order to clear their cargo. Read More »
26 November 2015

On 21st November 2015, the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) opened its new trade facilitation centre in Mombasa. Read More »
26 November 2015

Taxation is an important part of the way governments generate the income they need to deliver services as well as develop their economies. The taxation landscape on the African continent is constantly changing and with new technologies and systems it is becoming more efficient. Read More »
26 November 2015

The Mauritius Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) has beaten stiff competition from 52 contestants to win the Grand Prize of the Public Service Excellence Award (PSEA), together with the award for Innovation and Improvement. This winning witnessed RGD scooping a cash prize of 150, 000 Mauritian Rupees (approximately USD 4,023.61). Read More »
17 November 2015

As a continent, Africa has been making itself significantly more investor-friendly for some years now. The recently published World Bank Group report, Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, has found that Sub-Saharan African economies are among the world’s top improvers of business climate. According to the report, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin are in the top ten list of the most improved countries worldwide as regards reforms that make it easier to do business. Read More »
11 November 2015

Andrew Karabassis is the Managing Director of Costbuild Limited, a construction company located in Ndola, Zambia. The demanding nature of his business requires him to spend a lot of time on site, leaving little time for Andrew to physically visit Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) offices for his tax matters. Read More »
11 November 2015

Eliba Kazimzuri is an entrepreneur who is actively engaged in animal and poultry husbandry. She manages a total of 2,400 cattle, pigs, chicken and ducks, in Kibaha, Tanzania. Operating as a micro enterprise in the informal sector, Eliba was unable to secure reliable business funding to expand her business, thus failed to increase her productivity and employ more workers. Read More »
11 November 2015

The flower business is a time sensitive enterprise, as Juliana Rono, Sales and Marketing Manager at Karen Roses, can testify. One of Kenya’s major exporters of cut flowers, Karen Roses exports over 6 tons of flowers daily to Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, and United Kingdom. The perishable nature of flowers means time is of the essence for them. Read More »
30 October 2015

ICF has been working with governments across Africa to modernize their taxation systems in order to make them work more efficiently for both the private sector and the tax administrators. Read More »
29 October 2015

Rwanda Revenue Authority now processes taxes by the click of the mouse, allowing the business community to file and pay taxes instantaneously. Read More »
29 October 2015

To help improve the investment climate in Cape Verde, ICF partnered with the Government of Cape Verde and the African Development Bank to create a tax administration system that is simpler, more efficient and customer service oriented. Read More »
12 October 2015

On Thursday 8th October 2015 Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Debretsion Gebremichael launched the eTrading Platform, along with an eTrading Centre, at the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) in Addis Ababa. The Platform ushers in a new era of electronic trading of commodities in Ethiopia. Gone are the days of flashing hand signals at the trading pit. Read More »
09 October 2015

(Addis Ababa, 8 October 2015) - Ethiopia Commodity Exchange announced today the inauguration of its revolutionary eTRADE Platform located at its headquarters on Chad Street. The ECX also made public the introduction of a new consolidated coffee grading system for the coming harvest season. Furthermore, the Exchange’s enhanced SMS/IVR market data dissemination platform was launched on the same day. Read More »
25 September 2015

There’s an old saying that notes the importance of sharing skills using the analogy of fishing. It goes like this: if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day but teach him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. The same applies to capacity building - strengthening the ability of people, organizations and countries to adapt and thrive enables them to develop and move forward Read More »
25 September 2015

Access to financial services and markets is an important building block of any economy. Not only does it assist the all-important small business sector on the continent but it helps strengthen the private sector, increase investor confidence, and bring important benefits to businesses of all sizes. ICF’s work in this field ranges from education about financial services all the way to modernizing commodity exchanges and improving access to these services. Each of them have an important role to play in a country’s development. Read More »
09 September 2015

On 3rd September 2015, the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) held a certification ceremony for Electronic Trading Trainees. The aim of the ceremony was to certify 371 traders who undertook training on the electronic trading system. The system was introduced under the ECX Modernization project. Co-funded by the Government of Ethiopia and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, the project aims to improve trading efficiency, services, and stakeholder access to commodity trading in Ethiopia. Read More »
28 August 2015

ICF has been working with a number of African governments to improve the business environment by making it easier for businesses to register and obtain operational licenses. These improvements have helped to reduce bureaucracy and delays leading to greater efficiency in the provision of these services on the side of government, and a reduction of time and costs on the side of businesses. Read More »
28 August 2015

Business registration and licensing is an important conduit to creating a thriving and robust business sector. It enables businesses, particularly small ones, to gain access to funding and to certain protections by the law. It also helps formalize the economy as registered businesses pay tax and deliver other important benefits to the economy, like job creation. Read More »
28 August 2015

Like for any business owner, time for Kefa Angwenyi is money. And wasted time means wasted money – and wasted opportunities. As the Managing Director of an architectural firm called Neocracft, the ability to plan construction projects and deliver to clients on an agreed timeframe is crucial. Read More »
03 August 2015

Recently, the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) celebrated the closing ceremony of the Alternative Dispute Resolution project. Read More »
30 July 2015

Kigali, July 30th 2015 - Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) marked the successful implementation and the official closing of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Project (ADRP) at KIAC's newly unveiled office located in Nyarutarama. This project was implemented in cooperation between the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), Government of Rwanda (GoR), Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) and KIAC. Read More »
30 July 2015

ICF partners with governments across Africa to improve the business environment in partner countries. In our previous blog we explored the importance of contract enforcement in terms of meeting this objective and the various ways in which we achieve this. In this blog we will explore various case studies of work that ICF has completed on contract enforcement. Read More »
30 July 2015

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015, the freedom of contract is the ability of adults and groups— such as corporations and other legal entities— to freely decide whether to enter into an enforceable agreement and to determine the rights and obligations of their bargain. What we can infer from this statement is that the enforcement of contracts is critical to this process. Read More »
29 July 2015

Ready access to commercial justice is crucial for any enterprise as it enables them to resolve commercial disputes quickly and efficiently. It also gives business owners the confidence to engage in commercial activities as they are assured of quick resolutions should any disputes arise. Read More »
26 June 2015

In our previous blog titled Enhancing trade facilitation in Africa - when borders cease to become barriers for economic growth, we discussed trade facilitation in Africa, specifically how intra-African trade has the immense potential to unlock economic development in African countries. Read More »
24 June 2015

Trade facilitation – the simplification, harmonisation, standardisation and modernisation of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods across borders – is an important enabler of economic growth. Trade facilitation reduces the time, cost and other related barriers to t rading between countries. Furthermore, trade facilitation also helps to maintain the integrity of borders by ensuring that the relevant laws and regulations are followed. Read More »
23 June 2015

Eliba Kazimzuri is an entrepreneur who is actively engaged in animal and poultry husbandry. She manages a total of 2,400 cattle, pigs, chicken and ducks, in Kibaha, Tanzania. Operating as a micro enterprise in the informal sector, Eliba was unable to secure reliable business funding to expand her business, thus failed to increase her productivity and employ more workers. Read More »
02 June 2015

On 28th May 2015 ICF and the African Development Bank held a joint event to promote investment climate reforms in Africa. The event, titled "Investment Climate: The Journey so Far", was held as part of the African Development Bank's Annual Meetings which took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 25th to 29th May 2015. Read More »
29 April 2015

Being able to properly register land is crucial in any economy, and has far reaching impact. It enables property owners to secure their right to their land. It enables companies to protect the ownership of their operating premises and makes them feel confident to operate, expand, create more jobs and engage in greater economic activity. Read More »
29 April 2015

Over the last few decades, it has become increasingly recognised by economists and policymakers that prosperity and property rights - defined as laws created by governments in regards to how individuals can control, benefit from and transfer property - are inextricably linked. Individuals and businesses will create new forms of property to generate wealth only when they are assured that their rights to their property will protect them against unjust or unlawful actions by other parties. Read More »
29 April 2015

Anthony Hategekimana, a local businessman in Nyagatare District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, is an enterprising man. A father of three, he runs a flour mill, a woodwork shop and cultivates fruits that he sells locally in his District, in the country’s capital city Kigali, and in a major market at the Rwanda border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Read More »
16 April 2015

From the 21st to 25th March 2015, the Kigali International Arbitration Centre (KIAC) held a training on adjudication in Kigali, Rwanda. The training brought together 60 professionals from various disciplines including engineers, lawyers, surveyors, and contractors from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Read More »
09 April 2015

Clearing goods through Customs in Tanzania was a lengthy and costly process. Systems were fragmented, documents had to be manually exchanged across a variety of organizations and agencies, and there was a general lack of coordination between regulatory agencies. Read More »
30 March 2015

Our previous blog looked into the subject of doing business in Africa and highlighted the successes of a few African countries as measured by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2015. For this article we wanted to unpack doing business in the continent and provide an understanding of how ICF’s priority areas and related projects are helping our partner countries improve their investment climate through business friendly regulations and systems. These priority areas include business registration and licensing, property rights and contract enforcement, tax and customs, financial markets and lastly, infrastructure facilitation. Read More »
25 March 2015

On 23rd March 2015 ICF and the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) signed an Agreement for the Tanzania Investment Window project. The Project will expand, consolidate and promote the Tanzania Investment Window in order to increase investments in Tanzania. Read More »
25 March 2015

Today, the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) have signed an agreement worth US$ 950,000 on a project that aims to increase investments in the country by expanding, consolidating and promoting the Tanzania Investment Window. Read More »
02 March 2015

Painting a picture on the current state of affairs of the business environment in Africa is no easy task. It takes a lot of work in order to gather relevant data and information that supports the realities on the ground. This reality is, to a large extent, influenced by many micro and macro factors and is often very different from country to country. Read More »
16 February 2015

As 2015 starts and the continent begins to get a new year underway we at ICF too have begun the year with two strong objectives we aim to deliver on in 2015. These objectives stem from our overarching goal of creating a continent that is a better place to do business. We do this by working with African governments, private sector and development partners on projects that break down barriers for investment and enhance economic prospects for the continent Read More »
21 January 2015

For many entrepreneurs, starting a business is about necessity. The decision is not about building on a skill or an innovation – it is about putting food on the table for families and communities. In light of this reality, if starting a business is difficult or expensive, then this impedes the potential to change the livelihoods of millions and the important economic development that a robust small business sector creates. Read More »
Press Contacts

Eunice Urio

Communications Manager
+255 222 129 211
Send an email

Elizabeth Mwambulukutu

Communications Officer
+255 222 129 211
Send an email

Share this page
Resources
Browse through our library of resources available for you to download and view.
Activity Map
Use our interactive map to follow all of our projects and activities on the African continent.
Project Application
View and download our project application forms, as well as our procurement guidelines.