In this interview, Richard Tusabe talks about the early challenges that the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) faced in terms of capacity building and reinvigorating the economy after the Rwandan genocide. He discusses the RRA’s methods to find skilled people outside the country for assistance, including engaging international partners and joining the East African Community to collaborate with other countries. Tusabe talks about the benefits of the RRA remaining outside the mainstream of public service as this allows the institution more flexibility compared to a bureaucracy. He emphasizes the importance of the RRA’s autonomy and zero-tolerance policy for corruption as well as the larger government’s endorsement of technology as an enabler. Tusabe also stresses the need to reduce the costs of filing tax to encourage people to leave the informal sector. He sheds light on the RRA’s methods of redeploying human resources after moving to an online system to better suit the institution’s needs. Tusabe talks about some of the remaining challenges of the RRA as losing staff to the private sector, and having a large informal sector, despite the government’s encouragement to move away from a cash economy. He describes the path forward for the RRA as using big data and analytics to monitor compliance, in line with the broader national shift towards having more mobile phone and internet penetration.
At the time of this interview, Richard Tusabe was the Commissioner General for Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), a government revenue collection agency. He has also served as the RRA’s Deputy Commissioner General, and Commissioner of Customs at the. Before joining the RRA, Tusabe worked in the private sector, specifically as the chief financial officer of a telecommunications company. He is an accountant by profession.