Thursday, March 19, 2009

‘Beer and cigarettes’ keeping Zimbabwe afloat, minister says

Posted: 03:01 PM ET
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) — Zimbabwe’s new finance minister Wednesday complained that President Robert Mugabe’s government is running on taxes and duties paid on beer and cigarettes.

As he presented his revised 2009 budget to parliament, Finance Minister Tendai Biti noted that “indirect taxes made up of customs and excise duty have contributed 88 percent of government revenue, which means that the government has been literally sustained by beer and cigarettes. This is unacceptable.”

Biti projected that revenue expectations for the year would come in at about $1 billion (U.S.) — some $700 million less than the figure declared earlier this year by the former finance minister, a Mugabe appointee. Biti is a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.
Projected spending for the year would be more than $1.9 billion

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