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Zimbabwe orders foreigners to get required documentation to continue operating businesses

by Staff reporter
24 Oct 2023 at 21:41hrs | Views
The government has issued a directive requiring foreign nationals to obtain proper documentation in order to conduct business operations. This decision was prompted by the discovery that some expatriates operating tuckshops in Harare's downtown area should technically be residing in refugee camps.

Industry and Commerce Minister Sithembiso Nyoni emphasized on Monday that the government's intention is not to expel foreigners from Zimbabwe but to encourage them to establish a compliant and favorable working environment.

During a visit to the small retail shops (tuckshops) in Harare's Central Business District (CBD), it became evident that a significant number of individuals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Nigeria were dominating a sector that is primarily reserved for Zimbabweans. However, many of them lacked the necessary operational licenses.

In one shop visited by Minister Nyoni, a Congolese refugee lacked the documentation required to operate a shop and should have been residing in a refugee camp. The issuance of a shop license to this individual by the Harare City Council was surrounded by unclear circumstances.

"Retail is a sector reserved for Zimbabweans, but we are not excluding foreigners. There is a specified threshold for foreign nationals in trading, and falling below that threshold would be a violation of Zimbabwean laws," Nyoni informed foreign business owners. She stressed the government's desire to avoid forcing anyone to leave, as long as they comply with the necessary documentation for operating businesses in Zimbabwe.

As Minister Nyoni moved from one shop to another, various issues emerged. According to the Trade Act, retailers should display commodities on shelves, yet in many tuckshops, food items were placed on the floor. Some had transformed their small partitioned spaces into wholesale operations, a practice the minister declared as unlawful.

"I am concerned about food items being on the floor. These should be on shelves. I want to ensure consumer protection," Nyoni added.

Chamunorwa Mukova, a representative of the Tuckshops Association, conveyed concerns about the excessive charges imposed by ZIMRA and the City Council. He pointed out that obtaining loans from banks was challenging, and the limited space available for their businesses was a constraint. The association urged the government to consider reducing ZIMRA charges.

Source - NewZimbabwe