May 17, 2017 / 1:24 PM / 5 months ago

Burundi tax revenues miss target as aid cuts bite

NAIROBI, May 17 (Reuters) - Burundi’s tax revenues edged higher in April compared with the same period a year earlier, but were still 14 percent short of the government’s target, the revenue authority said on Wednesday.

The impoverished country has become increasingly dependent on its own tax revenues since donors cut aid in reaction to the government’s crackdown on protests.

The semi-autonomous revenue board (OBR) said it collected 51.2 billion Burundi francs ($30.05 million) in April, up 1.1 percent on a year earlier, but still below the 59.5 billion francs the government wanted.

Cumulative revenues between January and April reached 229.6 billion francs, again better than the 200.5 billion francs collected during the same period in 2016, but short of the 230.2-billion-franc target.

President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in April 2015 triggered widespread protests, an ensuing rush of refugees out of the country and an economic slowdown.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts the coffee producer nation will have a nil economic growth this year after shrinking in 2016. ($1 = 1,704.0600 Burundi francs) (Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Heavens)

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