Government suspends trade at Burundi-Rwanda border point

Léonard sentore:"The tax collected in that locality could no longer pay the salary of one OBR agent"

Léonard sentore:”The tax collected in that locality could no longer pay the salary of one OBR agent”

All trade at the Kanyaru-Bas border point in northern Ngozi Province has been suspended since the government closed the customs office at the crossing on 11 October.

The government says it closed the customs office at Kanyaru-Bas due to low levels of traffic since July, when they imposed a ban on food exports.

“Burundi Revenue Authority observed an absence of the traffic of goods across Kanyaru Bas trans-border between Burundi and Rwanda since July 2016. The tax collected in that locality could no longer pay the salary of one OBR agent”, said Leonard Sentore, Commissioner General of the Burundi Revenue Authority.

Sentore said that users of the trans-border customs offices will now use neighboring customs offices including Kanyaru-Haut in northern Kayanza and Gasenyi in northern Kirundo. “We have visited the border many times. There isn’t any trans-border trade. For this, the traders, local administration, clearing agencies and the economic operators now have to use the above mentioned customs offices. Otherwise, any trade passing by the temporarily closed trans-border offices will be considered fraudulent goods”, said the commissioner General.

Despite reports that cross border trade is low in some parts, the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) says that tax revenues are rising in the whole country, tax, according to the OBR. Between July and September 2016, the government collected BIF 169, 8 billion compared with the forecasting BIF 148, 5 billion.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Désiré Musharitse, said that the OBR contributed to 52% of the state budget in 2016. “Other funds come from external funds and domestic debt”, he said. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance said that economic growth is now estimated at 2% compared to the negative economic growth in 2015 thanks to growth in agriculture and livestock, increased industrial production, etc.