THE National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) has urged foreigners who have not renewed their reserved sector compliance certificates to do so because they risk having their businesses closed for contravening the Indigenisation Act.
Foreigners coming to invest in the country are not allowed to invest in reserved sectors unless they get indigenisation compliance certificates from NIEEB.
Zimbabwe does not allow foreigners to run businesses such as operating commuter omnibuses, retail, barber shops, employment agencies and many others, which were reserved for locals.
In a notice, NIEEB said the government had ordered all foreigners operating business in the reserved sector of the economy to apply for indigenisation compliance certificates by January 1 last year.
“Therefore, any person or business operating in the reserved sectors should be in possession of a valid indigenisation compliance certificate,” the board said.
The indigenisation agency said forms should be submitted to the Harare office without delay, although it did not give a deadline.
The country softened its stance in 2013 to allow foreigners to operate businesses in the reserved sector when then Indigenisation minister Francis Nhema took over from his predecessor, Saviour Kasukuwere, who was perceived as more radical.
Nhema said there was need to create a new mindset in the indigenisation sector.
Zimbabwe’s retail sector has witnessed a formidable presence of foreign nationals, mainly Nigerian and Chinese.
They run tuck shops dotted across towns and cities, selling an assortment of retail products ranging from clothes, groceries, motor spares to electrical parts.
A number of foreigners own nightclubs and bottle stores.