6. May 2009

Mozambique to lose $100 mln in revenues in '09: government

Mozambique could lose as much as $100 million in tax revenue this year due to the effects of a global economic slowdown, chairman of the Revenue Authority (AT) Rosario Fernandes told state news agency AIM on Wednesday.
"Based on the calculations we made, our estimates are that there could be loss of $100 million as people and companies fail to pay taxes due to the effects of the international financial crises," Fernandes said.
He said Mozambique had expected to collect $1.725 billion in in taxes this year up from 2008's $1.466 billion and $1.294 billion in 2007.
Fernandes said the AT was intensifying tax collection and inspecting company audits closely.
"We have a unit (of officials) which will inspect and audit big projects to verify if the facts provided are legitimate," he told the news agency.
Mozambique approved a 2009 annual budget of $4 billion as it increased spending on agriculture, education, health and infrastructure.
The government said it would need to make up a 55 percent budget shortfall with tax increases as well as grants and soft loans from international partners.
In March aid group, Programme Aid Partners approved a $816 million to support the government's 2009 state budget and other development projects for the next five years.
There have not been major job losses in Mozambique but companies have been hinting that jobs could be on the line.
But, big projects such as the aluminium smelter Mozal, located near the capital Maputo, have laid off more than 80 workers citing financial difficulties.
"We have problems with Mozal because the price of aluminium has fallen by 50 percent. This has a structural impact on the company sales", Fernandes said. (Reuters)

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