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Chinese, Nigerians face boot


THE Government has turned the heat on Chinese and Nigerian nationals following the gazetting of a new law which prohibits foreigners from investing in business operations with low capital outlays with effect from January next year.

Report by Tarisai Mandizha

The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment last Friday published a statutory instrument (SI 66 of 2013) ordering all businesses operating in the country to apply for indigenisation compliance certificates within six months.

The statutory instrument is anchored in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act compelling foreign-owned companies operating in the country to sell controlling stakes to locals.

According to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, an “indigenous Zimbabwean” is defined as any person who, before Independence in 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person, and also includes any company, association, syndicate or partnership of which indigenous Zimbabweans form the majority of the members or hold the controlling interest.

The new piece of legislation bars foreigners from investing in retail, bakeries, grain milling, transportation (passenger buses, taxes and car hire services), barber shops, hair dressing and beauty salons, employment agencies, milk processing and tobacco processing among others.

“Every business that commenced operating in any sector of the economy reserved for indigenous Zimbabwean under the third schedule on, or after the fixed date shall apply for an indigenisation compliance certificate commencing from the gazetting of these regulations,” reads the statutory instrument in part.

The National Indigenisation Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) general manager in charge of compliance, Zwelibanzi Lunga, said the new law was meant to streamline foreign direct investment in key economic sectors such as infrastructure.

He said the government was concerned with the practice of some foreign investors who run small-sized businesses and bank the income offshore.

Lunga Said: “Sectors such as barbershops, retail shops and fashion shops are reserved for locals, we don’t need Nigerians or Chinese to come and invest, it requires very little capital and our people have it. Operators are given six months to apply for licenses and after that, players with no licenses should close down.”

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