More than 7 million Rwandans do their banking through their cellphones, but many of the agents who facilitate the banking transactions never declared their income to the country’s tax authority. Now the tax authority has started taking a 15-percent withholding tax from these agents’ incomes with the cellphone provider, plunging some of these agents into financial turmoil.
In Rwanda, where agriculture drives the economy, a cow is a symbol of wealth. To help the rural poor, the government has for more than a decade been giving select rural families one cow each, but the animal is not a simple gift – caring for a cow is difficult and expensive.
Despite plenty of arable land and potential labor, Rwanda imports more food than it exports. The government has introduced a program to get farmers to use hybrid maize seeds, but some farmers are pushing back against the strictures of the program.
A 1,150 percent tax increase on used clothing and shoes (known as “caguwa”), along with a total ban on the widespread trade that will take effect in 2019, are intended to promote local manufacturing and self-reliance. Those involved in secondhand sales say these actions will ruin their livelihoods, though the government promises solutions.
A 30-year-old entrepreneur has created a successful business in her home, with a small number of employees, and she hopes to expand. Local clothing makers are encouraged to increase production, since imported secondhand clothes will soon be banned.