Harare — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday a new tax on electronic payments was a painful but necessary part of the government’s attempts to revive the economy, his first comments since the imposition of the levy last week sparked a public outcry following the announcement on October 1. Mnangagwa is trying to put back on track an economy that all but collapsed under the 38-year rule of Robert Mugabe. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the 2% tax on mobile, card payments and bank transfers above $10 would be used to fund the roads, health and education sectors. The tax will apply on mobile, card payments and bank transfers above $10 with exceptions for foreign payments and transfer of government funds. However, business and citizens objected, saying they would be paying for the government’s profligate spending.

Oil companies temporarily stopped delivering fuel because of the effect of the tax, causing shortages. Prices of some basic goods and medical drugs ...

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