HARARE – ZIMBABWE Â will increase excise tax on cigarettes, decrease taxes on beer and introduce a tobacco levy on hundreds of thousands of new growers, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced Â on Thursday.
Excise duty on cigarettes will be upped from Â US$15 per 1000 sticks to Â US$20 Â per 1000 sticks from December 1 2014, the minister said in his 2015 budget speech to parliament in Harare.
Duty on beer has been reduced from 45 percent to 40 percent in a bid to increase demand.
Chinamasa said a previously abolished tobacco levy on growers would now be reintroduced to finance re-forestation activities.
Small-scale growers across the country have been blamed for alarming deforestation rates as they cut down trees to cure their crop in wood-fired barns.
Meanwhile Â Zimbabwe’s economy is to register only slight growth of 3.2 percent in 2015, added Â Chinamasa in his budget speech.
Chinamasa said Â cash shortages Â in the economy, low domestic savings and investment inflows and downward trending international commodity prices had “suppressed overall output”.
Earlier this year Chinamasa had to revise Zimbabwe’s economic output for 2014 down from 6.1 percent to 3.1 percent. -Â Sapa