Mobile phone tax introduced

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FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday announced taxes on mobile phones and raised the levy on fuel in an increasingly desperate bid to boost State revenues in the face of stagnating domestic growth.

Chinamasa said economic growth would be dragged down by weaker performances in the mining, tourism and manufacturing sectors, although he kept his 2014 forecast at 3,1%.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been squeezed by a lack of foreign investment, power shortages and company closures, all of which has hurt government finances.

“The slowdown in performance is also reflected in reduced revenue collections, depressed exports and imports,” Chinamasa said during a half-year budget statement to Parliament.

To raise more funds for a government that spends more than 70% of its budget on salaries, Chinamasa said the State would impose a 5% levy on making mobile phone voice calls and sending data.

A new 25% duty will also be charged on all imports of mobile phones, while the levy on fuel was increased to finance “inescapable expenditure”, he said.

— Reuters