THE government has a good track record of shooting itself in the foot and the blitz by the National Indeginisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) against Bulawayo companies operating in reserved sectors is one such example.
One of the city’s most popular food outlets — Golden Grill — was temporarily closed last week and a notice pasted on its doors showed that it had been shut down by Nieeb for alleged non-compliance with the Indigenisation and Economic Act.
According to some reports, as many as 200 companies were affected by the directive. Under the law, foreigners are not allowed to invest in reserved sectors such as grain milling, barber shops, tobacco processing, bakeries, local transportation and fast-food outlets, among others.
The government last year issued a January 2014 ultimatum for companies to comply with the directive.
However, Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema downplayed the directive at one time saying no company would be forced to shut down.
Nhema at the weekend appeared unaware of the Nieeb onslaught and referred questions to the board.
This could signal the fact that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Zimbabwe, and in particular the City of Bulawayo, is desperate for investment whether foreign or local.
Hundreds of companies have closed down in Bulawayo in the past few years throwing thousands of workers on the streets.
Government statistics indicate that the city has the highest employment rate in the country largely because of the unrestrained company closures. Therefore, the Nieeb onslaught on Bulawayo companies smacks of outright sabotage.
Hundreds of workers would lose their jobs and foreign investors would have second thoughts about investing in Bulawayo.
It is an open secret that Zimbabwe is not an enticing investment destination and there is absolutely no need to exacerbate the bad image.
The Zanu PF government should quickly extinguish the fire started by one of its arms or the people of Bulawayo would hold it responsible for this sabotage.