MAPUTO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Mozambique will charge Italian energy company ENI $350 million in capital gains tax for its sale of a stake in the Coral South natural gas field to ExxonMobil, the nation’s finance minister said on local television on Tuesday.
Mozambique’s government plans to set up a sovereign investment fund where taxes received on sales of the country’s minerals will be used to finance development projects, state media reported earlier this month.
The government has authorised the asset sale and the tax authorities can now collect the tax, Minister of Economy and Finance Adriano Maleiane said in a news bulletin on the private television station STV.
“The state has already done what had to be done. Officials from outside the country must close, and from there they have a deadline of 30 days to bring the funds here to Mozambique. Before the end of the year is the probable deadline, “said Maleiane.
In June, ENI signed an $8 billion deal with the government to develop a gas field off the coast of Mozambique, the first of a series of projects that could transform the poor African nation into a major energy supplier to Asia.
The Coral South field operated by ENI contains about 450 billion cubic metres or 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.
Exxon Mobil Corp agreed this year to pay Eni $2.8 billion for a 25 percent stake in Coral South.
Maputo has been struggling to shake off an international scandal after the discovery of hidden loans worth $2 billion to state companies led the International Monetary Fund and Western donors to halt support, triggering the collapse of Mozambique’s currency and leading to a debt default. (Reporting by Manuel Mucari)