By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE surpassed its revenue collections targets for the year 2018 by US$1.18 billion, a 2018 fourth quarter report released by the Finance Ministry has revealed.
The report observes that the policies aimed at widening the tax revenue base in the final quarter contributed to the surplus earned.
“Revenue collections during the fourth quarter of 2018 stood at US$1.69 billion, that way surpassing the set target of US$1.18 billion by 43.4 percent. This fourth quarter performance also represents a phenomenal 60 percent increase from the collections of US$1.06 billion recorded during the same period in 2017,” the document reads.
In comparison, fourth quarter revenues surpassed third quarter revenues of US$1.3 billion by 31.3 percent, reflecting high inflation impact, as well as the introduction of the Intermediated Money Transfer Tax in November.
During the year, the agriculture sector injected 33 percent of the nation’s total export revenue, with tobacco produced during the period recording higher yield despite the period being marked by poor rainfall.
“Tobacco output stood at 252 million kilograms, surpassing historical record levels despite the delayed onset of rain in the 2017/18 season,” says the report.
During the year, the nation’s total economic worth registered a 4 percent growth as opposed to the 4.5 percent that had been projected by the Finance Ministry.
The country’s economy grew by 4 percent in 2018 falling below the set projection of 4.5 percent.
The period’s performance for gold, platinum, and chrome was below that for the same period in 2016 and 2017. Similarly, palladium and nickel recorded marginal declines, owing to the foreign currency crisis which peaked in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube described the period as very challenging when compared to other quarters but he maintained optimism on sticking to set objectives.
“Generally, the fourth quarter of 2018 faced a lot of headwinds relative to the other quarters of the year. Challenges mainly emanated from uncertainties surrounding the currency issue, which later fed into inflationary pressures.
“Although these developments impacted negatively on the overall performance of the economy, this, however, was not enough to offset the gains achieved during the first nine months of the year,” he said.