Burundi's 2016 first-quarter tax revenues down 10 percent, undercut by violence

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 13, 2016 10:37 AM

By Patrick Nduwimana

KIGALI (Reuters) - Burundi's tax revenues fell 10.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year, reflecting in part continued political unrest, the central African country's revenue authority said on Wednesday.

A poor nation that relies heavily on coffee and tea exports, Burundi has been gripped by intermittent violence since April last year, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term in office.

He won a disputed poll in July last year.

According to the country’s revenue authority OBR, collections in the January-March period were down to 149.6 billion francs ($97.78 million), from 166.7 billion francs it received in the same period in 2015.

In a report, OBR also said the 2016 first quarter revenues fell below its target for the period, which stood at 151 billion francs.

“This underperformance is partly due to the political and security crisis that started in April 2015 until today," OBR said in a report issued at a press conference.

Nkurunziza's opponents say his third term bid broke the country’s constitution and a peace pact, both limiting presidential terms to two.

However, the president and his supporters cite a constitutional court ruling that said he could run.

More than 400 people have already died in the violence that has also forced over 250,000 to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

(This version of the story corrects tax collections period in paragraph 4 to January-March instead of January)

(Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; editing by Elias Biryabarema and Ralph Boulton)