In Burundi, as in many countries in Africa, wrap cloths or “pagnes” are an integral part of the
country’s heritage. Today, most of the cloths are imported from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo where prices are lower there.
When contacted by FRANCE 24, a spokesperson from the Burundi Revenue Authority said the operation “was carried out as part of the fight against fraud. All customs officers can, according to the law, carry out a search if there is serious information on the existence of fraudulent merchandise. It happens that in Burundi, “pagnes” are never declared even though the markets are filled with them, and it’s one of the most sold products. Surprising, isn’t it?”
The spokesperson added: “The tax on “pagnes” is there for the benefit of the local economy. Given that it’s a massively-imported merchandise, we tax it more than other items.”
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