Blitz on er­rant for­eign busi­nesses

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Lin­coln Towindo

SCORES of for­eign-owned busi­nesses op­er­at­ing in sec­tors re­served for lo­cals un­der the coun­try’s Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Reg­u­la­tions risk los­ing op­er­at­ing li­cences af­ter au­thor­i­ties launched a blitz to un­mask the il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Since the be­gin­ning of the month, the Na­tional Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Board (NIEEB) has de­ployed in­spec­tors in Harare to ver­ify com­pli­ance by busi­nesses op­er­at­ing in re­served sec­tors, with fur­ther de­ploy­ments to Gweru and Bu­l­awayo set for this week.

In terms of the Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Reg­u­la­tions; busi­nesses in ar­eas such as trans­port (pas­sen­ger buses, taxis, car hire), re­tail and whole­sale, bar­ber shops and sa­lons, grain milling, es­tate agents, bak­eries, to­bacco pro­cess­ing, em­ploy­ment agen­cies and ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies; are re­served for lo­cals.

For­eign­ers who in­tend to op­er­ate in the sec­tors should ap­ply for ex­emp­tion from the re­spon­si­ble line min­istry.

NIEEB chief ex­ec­u­tive Mr Rangu Nya­mu­rundira said op­er­at­ing within the re­served sec­tor with­out ap­proval is an of­fence.

He said: “NIEEB is act­ing in terms of the Indi­geni­sa­tion and Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Reg­u­la­tions, which re­serve cer­tain sec­tors of the econ­omy for Zim­bab­wean en­trepreneurs.

“Sec­tion 9A (5) directs NIEEB to ver­ify com­pli­ance of busi­nesses in the re­served sec­tor, in­clud­ing hav­ing sight of and mak­ing copies of any rel­e­vant doc­u­ments for pur­pose of ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Our clearly iden­ti­fi­able of­fi­cers are now on the ground in Harare.

“We ex­pect to be start­ing in Bu­l­awayo and Gweru next (this) week and the other cities first week of Oc­to­ber.

“Ul­ti­mately we must ver­ify com­pli­ance across the coun­try.”

Mr Nya­mu­randira warned the tar­geted busi­nesses against ob­struct­ing NIEEB of­fi­cers, say­ing such ac­tions carry a prison term. He said the of­fi­cers would com­pile re­ports for on­ward sub­mis­sion to the par­ent min­is­ter who can then in­sti­tute pro­ceed­ings to re­voke op­er­at­ing li­cences.

Mr Nya­mu­randira said the ex­er­cise has been con­ducted an­nu­ally since 2014.

“The ver­i­fi­ca­tion ex­er­cise will not end. It is an on­go­ing ex­er­cise be­cause busi­nesses are re­quired to re­new their cer­tifi­cates an­nu­ally and we are re­quired to un­der­take pe­ri­odic ver­i­fi­ca­tions to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion in the re­served sec­tors,” he said.

“We will also be ap­proach­ing the rel­e­vant li­cens­ing au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing lo­cal coun­cils, ZIA, Im­mi­gra­tion and the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe with our find­ings, in­clud­ing the gross un­eth­i­cal and un­law­ful busi­ness prac­tices that are in vi­o­la­tion of the NIEEB char­ter and are un­der­min­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of an em­pow­ered so­ci­ety and growth of a new econ­omy.”

Last week, The Sun­day Mail wit­nessed some NIEEB in­spec­tors car­ry­ing out ver­i­fi­ca­tion ex­er­cises in restau­rants and sa­lons in Harare’s CBD.

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