New portal eases international trade information access for Rwanda traders
Rwanda Revenue Authority andTradeMark East Africa have launched The Rwanda Trade Portal.
The Rwanda Trade Information Portal is a fulfillment of the government of Rwanda’s obligations under the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to which Rwanda is a signatory.
The agreement obliges governments to be transparent and to provide practical guides to trade formalities. As a result, the online platform gives importers and exporters quick access to step-by-step guides on trade-related procedures including licenses, permits and clearance processes.
For each step, the system shows the result of the step, who to see, what to bring, what to pay, why the step is obligatory, how long it takes and who to complain to in case of a problem.
This forms part of an effort to improve the efficiency of trade in and out of Rwanda by reducing the time needed to import goods by 47% and time required to export by 91%.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the development and roll out of the portal with US$498,000. UNCTAD and ITC provided technical assistance and Rwanda Revenue Authority is hosting and operating this portal.
Traders in Rwanda will now easily access trade information and benefit from resulting efficiency following the launch of the Rwanda trade portal, www.rwandatrade.rw, which has so far consolidated 94 procedures composed of 532 steps that traders follow to import and export commodities in and out of Rwanda.
Furthermore, the portal, plays home to 680 trade documents, has 80 civil servants from different institutions available to respond to queries and is built on 185 legal instruments.
“The launch of the Trade Information portal is part of the Government’s initiative to facilitate trade in Rwanda and beyond and to also comply with article 1.2 of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The portal is expected to improve the ease of doing business specifically the indicator on trading across border. Moreover, as the platform will consolidates information on trade procedures into one single online platform, it will facilitate the private sector by reducing the time it took to look for physical information in different institutions and online. Our estimate is that, it will take them 5 minutes to obtain all needed information on trade procedures in Rwanda” indicated the Minister of Trade and Industry
The Trade Portal has cumulative economic benefits for all stakeholders in the movement of goods across Rwanda’s borders.
These include seamless information to traders, a concise summary of international trade processes, a repository of trade related laws, regulations, acts and legislations, and answers to frequently asked questions made by traders on compliance issues in addition to a host of other benefits.
This empowers traders and investors with the necessary information to comply with regulatory requirements for importation and exportation of goods. As a result, this reduces the penalties that may be levied for non-compliance.
”Quick and easy access to information will ease doing business, make international trade smooth and increase export and import volumes which will in turn boost tax collection. Also, having trade related information online and in one place will reduce physical contact with officers which will minimise corruption.” Noted TUSABE Richard, Commissioner General for RRA.
TradeMark East Africa, Country Director for Rwanda said, “the launch of this portal is testament of our commitment to increase Rwanda’s trading opportunities internationally. Its implementation testified to our spirit of partnership as we worked closely with the EAC, UNCTAD/ITC and Rwanda Revenue Authority to see this project come to being. This portal makes international trade information readily available, thus simplifying the process of exports and imports and reducing the time taken. This portal complements TMEA’s other work with the government of Rwanda including The Rwanda electronic Single Window, One Stop Border Post at Kagitumba, Standards work and support to women. Ultimately, these interventions will create a conducive business environment for businesses in Rwanda, promoting job creation and reducing poverty.”
The portal will contribute to improving Rwanda’s competitiveness as an economy and its ease of doing business where the country is currently ranked 2nd in Africa.