The Mozambican Tax Authority says it it collected 173 billion meticais (about 2.46 billion US dollars, at current exchange rates) in tax revenue in 2016, a 4.8 per cent increase on the tax collection target for the year of 165 billion meticais.

Its Chairperson, Amelia Nakhare, says: We can state: Mission Accomplished! 2016 was not an easy year in terms of tax collection activities, because of our economic structure and the shocks deriving from the external and internal macro-economic conjuncture, which significantly affected collection capacity.”

The authority’s statistics show that southern Mozambique, notably Maputo City, contributed more than 60 per cent of overall revenue.

Nakhare explains that this is because of the role of the Customs services at Maputo Port, far and away the largest of Mozambique’s ports, and because of the high concentration of major taxpayers in the capital.

Nakhare stresses that what is most important in tax collection is not merely the amount of money raised, but efficiency.

We measured the efficiency rate, and we found that currently, the highest efficiency rate is not in Maputo City. We have the greatest efficiency in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, even though they have less ambitious targets, she adds.

Collecting more does not mean being more efficient. Being efficient means, above all, being closer to the taxpayer, and having the capacity, together with the taxpayer, for better fiscal planning.”

As for the prospects for 2017, Nakhare says the authority intends to increase its capacity to monitor the country’s borders, to reduce smuggling and increase revenue. This will mean increasing the size of its fleet of vehicles, and training people currently classified as auxiliary tax officers to work on border inspections.