Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) last week appeared before the Parliament Public Accounts (PAC) to request for more staff despite the Auditor General (AG) showing that the taxman was non-compliant on recruitment and had hired more than required.
MP Jean Damascene Murara who led the hearing said that RRA hadn’t implemented the AG’s recommendations with only 37.5% fully addressed 25% halfway and another 37.5% remaining untouched.
Murara said that particularly RRA failed to address two key recommendations which involved delays in recruiting and over-recruiting.
On the staff recruitment concern, the financial year ending 2019 report showed that RRA delayed by over 20- 120 days to post staff recruited, to publish selected applicants and conduct written job exams.
The taxman also didn’t abide by a requirement to have a panel of three to shortlist applicants. They used one or two persons.
Also according to the letter sent by the Ministry of Public Service and Labor (MIFOTRA) to all public entities on 8 February 2013, Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) structure of every public entity should be approved by MIFOTRA and the Finance Ministry (MINECOFIN).
However, RRA management did not provide evidence that the current SPIU/RRA organizational and salary structure was approved through that channel.
On April 11, 2016, RRA Wrote to MIFOTRA informing them that they were in process of establishing SPIU and submitted the concept note and organizational structure of SPIU.
However, there was no evidence of any feedback provided by MIFOTRA or any follow-up done by RRA management to get approved SPIU organizational and salary structure up to the time of audit in December 2019.
On over recruiting, Murara said that instead of hiring a number of (1,011) staff approved by the Labor Ministry- (MIFOTRA), RRA permanently hired 1,276 and 2 political appointees, in 2019- that is over 200 more and on the salary scheme- this represented 126% of total employees as per approved salary structure.
The AG report said: “the recommendation was partially implemented and the issue of overstaffing is not yet resolved.”
RRA Commissioner General, Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali said that it is true there were delays in posting recruited staff but they are overwhelmed by the number of applicants where they get over 5,000 candidates for one vacant post.
“A pre-selection of applicants on fairgrounds takes us quite fair time; it involves handling complaints, appeals and revisiting the exams to reconsider the applications,” Ruganintwali said and noted that they have asked Mifotra to reconsider giving them more time to sort out these cases.
On overstaffing, Ruganintwali said they had 2,248 staff (as recommended by the board) but Mifotra approved 1,011 only and RRA reported that they had already recruited and posted the staff.
MPs wondered how the extra employees are paid salaries, if not known by the line ministry.
Ruganintwali said that RRA restructured its salary structure and submitted a request to allow them to retain the employees and possibly hire more to increase the taxman’s efficiency.
“We are actually in a staff crisis. We need more in Human Resources and the overall reform data shows we have a big crisis. Thus the final approval will help us,” Ruganintwali said.