Zimbabwe ‘surviving on beer and cigarettes’

Zimbabwe’s new finance minister Wednesday complained that President Robert Mugabe’s government is running on taxes and duties paid on beer and cigarettes. As he presented his revised 2009 budget to parliament, Finance Minister Tendai Biti noted that “indirect taxes made up of customs and excise duty have contributed 88 percent of government revenue, which means that the government has been literally sustained by beer and cigarettes.” “This is unacceptable,” the minister added.