Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UK's DFID Sponsors Joint Training for Sierra Leone, Rwanda Tax Auditors

Six revenue officers from the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone have undergone tax audit training in Rwanda.

The six joined 15 other Rwandan tax auditors from the different provinces of the country for the four day audit training that commenced on May 15.

Funded by UK's Department for International Development - DFID, the bilateral training was opened by the commissioner general of the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Ms. Mary Baine.

"We should build capacity in our people and collect more revenue to reduce donor dependency. Officers should also work for the bigger picture and not for personal gain," Baine told Business Week after opening the training at Saint Andre de Kabgayi Hall in Gitarama, central Rwanda.

An Audit and VAT expert based in the UK, Mr. David Palmer made the trip to Gitarama, some 50kms south of Kigali City to conduct the training for the professionals from both countries.

"The best way to manage is to have a solid succession plan. Young leaders should take up the mantle.

We are also going to conduct more training before the end of the year," Baine said.

Speaking to the trainees, the tax authority's chief stressed the need to plan to be more efficient in the work place.

"Proper planning is important in whatever you do. We either waste a lot of time in planning or because we have not planned.

Building capacity is a daily routine and you must make maximum use of every opportunity," Baine said.

She emphasised the need for tax officers to have values of honesty, efficiency, confidence, technical competence and hard work embedded for better tax administration.

The commissioner general also advised the tax auditors not to be apprehensive when dealing with clients but put in place a friendly engaging atmosphere.

Baine encouraged the young professionals in the hall to appreciate constructive criticism which encourages better ideas and lead to the emergence of a productive tax administration.

In the same breadth, the project manager Rwanda Revenue Authority Mr. Kieran Holmes told Business Week that an earlier visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone in February 2007 with Baine hastened the joint training plans with the revenue body of the West African nation.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and DFID figured that both countries were facing similar challenges and decided to plan a strategy for a mutual training venture.

"The Rwanda Revenue Authority is becoming a leading light in the region and has learnt a lot from other countries.

This is the first time we are getting a team from West Africa," Holmes who has been at RRA for the past five years said.

RRA plans to give serious attention to tax training; it has established a specialised institute in the southern district of Huye to conduct training for local, regional and continental entities interested in sharing knowledge, experiences and modern robust best practices to enhance tax administration and management.

The Principal, RRA Training Institute Ms. Lillian Karungi Rugambwa told Business Week in a separate interview that the institute will conduct comprehensive training.

"The institute should be open sometime in June 2007." Rugambwa said.

Link to allAfrica.com: Sierra Leone: UK's DFID Sponsors Joint Training for Sierra Leone, Rwanda Tax Auditors (Page 1 of 1)