NIEEB descends on non-compliant firms

Source: NIEEB descends on non-compliant firms – Sunday News November 5, 2017

Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
THE National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) has launched a nationwide blitz on companies that are operating in the reserved sectors of the economy without compliance documents.

Reserved sectors of the economy, under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment law are a preserve for Zimbabweans.

Foreign firms operating in the reserved sectors are required to pay a levy. NIEEB officers, have since last week been moving around inspecting companies’ compliance with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act on reserved sectors of the economy. In a statement last week, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries confirmed the blitz on its members.

“NIEEB has confirmed that there is a verification exercise underway around the country. They are moving around business premises to find out the status of companies with regards to compliance to operate in reserved sectors,” reads the statement in part.

The statement further reads, “The statutory fees for getting the verification form that one is supposed to fill in is $20. If one is Zimbabwean operating in the reserved sector, NIEEB is requiring those running such businesses to pay $130 for certification. Those that are non-Zimbabweans pay an initial fee of $500 for the first year and $300 per year thereafter. These fees are annual payments as the Board has to verify on an annual basis.”

However, some indigenous business people operating in the reserved sector who spoke to Sunday Business said they did not understand why they were being asked to pay for certification when they were operating in sectors reserved for them.

CZI said some of the factors the NIEEB was looking for include verification that one is banking money; tax compliance; shareholding status and other statutory documents that facilitate business operation from institutions such as Nssa, Zimra and city council.

“According to NIEEB, anyone operating in the reserved sector must have compliance documents and that the law allows the NIEEB to ask for documentation to verify compliance. When one is operating in a reserved sector, regardless of whether he or she is Zimbabwean or not, they must show a certificate of compliance,” CZI said.

NIEEB public relations and communications manager Ms Grace Tsvakanyi could not be reached to share more details of the blitz. Under the country’s indigenisation laws the reserved sectors include agriculture (primary production of food and cash crops), transportation, retail and wholesale trade, barbershops, hairdressing and beauty salons.

The other sectors are employment and estate agencies and grain milling as well as bakeries, tobacco grading and packaging, tobacco processing, advertising agencies, milk processing and provision of local arts and crafts, marketing and distribution.

Operating in a reserved sector the compliance certificate is a criminal offence under which one can face up to four months in jail. NIEEB can also make a request for the operating licence to be cancelled. -@irielyan