Zimbabwe: Ultimatum for Illegal Businesses Lapses


THE seven-day ultimatum for Harare province businesses operating illegally or with expired documentation to regularise their businesses lapsed on Monday and thr Government is yet to respond to traders who did not conform.

This comes after more than 70 percent of businesses in Harare were alleged to be operating in defiance of regulations and by-laws. Some had not renewed their licences or paid taxes and rates while others had never bothered. All were required to become compliant.

Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Harare Metropolitan Province Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said his office would issue a detailed statement in due course.

“We will be giving you updates after every 72 hours,” he said.

Most businesses in the downtown Harare are breaching rules, with many entrepreneurs not accepting local currency as well as not banking their money hindering the growth of the provincial economy. Mr Muguti last week said 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 were operating illegally and creating a haven for criminal activities.

“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 said.

He 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 the fees that should be going to local authorities.

“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 or hair salons or 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.

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Publish date : 2022-06-24 09:45:37

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