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Zimbabwe's Tax Revenue up 29 Percent to $1.1 Billion in First Quarter

FILE: A vendor carries his goods after he was evicted from the streets by Zimbabwean police in Harare, Wednesday, July, 8, 2015.

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s tax revenue rose 29 percent to $1.1 billion during the first quarter of the year, the tax agency said on Monday, citing better tax compliance and an improving business environment under new President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The southern African nation has not been able to access foreign funding since 1999 when it defaulted on its debt, hobbling the economy and making tax collections crucial to financing the government budget.

“Gross and net revenue collections were above last year’s levels for the same period, an indication of an improving operating environment for business and effective enforcement,” Zimbabwe Revenue Authority chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said in a statement.

Bonyongwe did not give projections for 2018 but the agency collected $3.98 billion last year.

Mnangagwa, whose biggest challenge is to revive the economy, came to power in November after a defacto army coup that forced 94-year-old Robert Mugabe to resign.

Mnangagwa has promised to protect foreign investment in Zimbabwe and has watered down some of Mugabe’s policies, including the black economic empowerment law that forced foreign-owned firms to sell majority shares to locals.

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