Zimbabwe: 7-Day Ultimatum for Businesses Operating Illegally

Herald Reporter

More than 70 percent of businesses in Harare are operating in defiance of regulations or by-laws and Government will descend on them if they fail to regularise their operations within seven days.

Most businesses in downtown Harare are breaching rules, with most of the entrepreneurs not trading in local currency, as well as not banking their money, and that is hindering the growth of the provincial economy.

Harare Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said yesterday, reneging on the law and rules is not only seen in small businesses but even bigger companies are flouting the law and regulations.

In the hospitality sector more than 80 percent of lodges in Harare operating illegally and creating a haven for criminal activity.

“Within Harare Metropolitan Province, less than 30 percent of the businesses within the province are operating within the confinements of the by-laws and the national laws.”

Mr Muguti clarified that some businesses might appear to be well-established but are reneging on their obligations to regulatory bodies, which makes their businesses illegal, or at least not conforming to the law. They renege on paying their dues to entities like NSSA, Zimra, their local authority, Zera and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, among others.

“Apart from that we have about 80 percent of the lodges that we have seen so far in our research that are not registered with ZTA; they are not accredited, they are not rated and these are people who are just operating free willy-nilly, converting residential homes into lodges.

“A lot of crimes are now taking place in these unregulated places, so we are seeking that they put their house in order,” said Mr Muguti.

“We also have a challenge that most of the social infrastructure in high capacity areas like Mbare Musika, Glen View market, Mupedzanhamo, we have a lot of challenges where space barons are now controlling money.

“At least US$250 000 a day we estimate is being shared among a few individuals across all local authorities from Chitungwiza, Jambanja to Epworth. Wherever you go there are these people who believe that they are so politically connected and that they are untouchables.”

Mr Muguti said in the “downtown area we have a problem that most of the shops there are refusing the local currency, they only want US dollars, and unfortunately about 80 percent are owned by people who are not Zimbabweans, some are ex-refuges”.

Those operating illegally mostly in trades like car sales, hair salons; those operating in unauthorised open areas and canteens among others are set to be affected by the scheduled enforcement.

Even those in standard and accepted areas need to regularise, update their certification and payments to regulatory bodies.

“Within the course of this week, all those businesses who do not have their papers in order, please put your papers in order. We are giving them seven days,” said Mr Muguti.

“Make sure you are registered with Zimra, NSSA whoever you need to be registered with for your business to be considered legal and compliant with the City of Harare and with Government and all the respective agencies.

“Starting from Monday next week we will be shutting those businesses down, and punitive penalties which we are also going to relay are going to apply,” said.

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