Rwanda Revenue Authority grapples with staff exodus

Saturday October 24 2015

The headquarters of Rwanda Revenue Authority

The headquarters of Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) in Kigali. RRA has been losing staff in IT and audit departments to private sector and other government agencies. FILE PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

By ALEX NGARAMBE, Rwanda Today

Rwanda Revenue Authority’s operations are being stifled by a high rate of employee turnover especially in the audit and information and technology departments as the taxman still struggles to meet revenue targets.

Rwanda Today has learnt that the taxman is losing their competent staff barely after three years of recruitment to better paying firms in both private and public sectors.

It is estimated that the revenue body loses at least 50 employees annually after the taxman has invested in their skills development.

Although RRA management said it is regarded as one the well-paying institutions in the country, it still loses staff to public institutions such the National Bank of Rwanda and Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority and other international auditing and accounting firms.

With the high employee turnover depriving the taxman of quality human resource in key departments, this is partly to blame for the shortfall in revenue that RRA has been registering for some time now.

The revenue body wants to retain its employees at least beyond eight years but unable due to competition for limited talent on the labour market.

“Although we are not the most poorly paying organisation, our salary structure does not allow retention or attracting competent staff given that skilled labour force on the Rwandan market is very limited,” said Richard Tusabe, Commissioner General of RRA when he appeared before the parliamentary committee.

However, it is likely that RRA loses its staff to other public institutions since government is the biggest employer in Rwanda.

The government is, however, promoting a private sector led economy with a target of creating over 200,000 new jobs annually by 2020. However is currently below 150,000 jobs.

Mr Tusabe also said they are now working with the United States Treasury to strengthen the IT governance structure.

RRA’s internal auditors have been poached by many international audit firms that are established in Rwanda.

The Private Sector Federation (PSF), however, maintains that the government will continue losing staff because the minimum level of experience demanded by the private sector is also highly paid.

“People are always looking for better opportunities and in most cases provided by the private sector but also high turnover in government creates room for fresh graduates to work with the public sector with less experience demands,” said Antoine Manzi Rutayisire, director for advocacy, communication and labour relations at PSF.

Over the last six months of 2014, tax and non-tax revenue collections were Rwf406.3 billion ($589.7 million), five per cent below the Rwf427.9 billion ($621.1 million) target.