Zimbabwe: Foreign and Nigerian businesses to face indigenization law

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A radical black empowerment lobby group, the Affirmative Action Group
(AAG) has resolved to flush out all foreigners especially Nigerian businessmen in Zimbabwe by all means to pave way for locals.

AAG, a militant group with strong links with Zanu PF said it will use
force to rid of all Nigerians running businesses in the country’s cities and towns to create space for black Zimbabweans. The group claims that Nigerians are crowding out struggling black Zimbabweans from businesses hence they should be forced to leave to allow locals to enjoy the privilege.

AAG campaigns for black economic empowerment in the country.

Charles Nyachowa, AAG Harare regional president, today said government
has been notified of their intentions. “The Nigerians are using Zimbabweans as fronts because the businesses are registered in the names of Zimbabweans but are run by Nigerians,” Nyachowa said. The group “will also deal decisively with Zimbabweans that connive with the foreigners to frustrate their efforts,” he continued.

AAG claim that Zimbabweans were forcing their daughters and sisters to
marry Nigerians in return for cash and other favours. And to achieve the potential violent move a door-to-door campaign would be launched to authenticate the ownership of businesses.

Lately, Nigerians and other nationals from West African countries such as Senegal and Guinea have flooded Zimbabwe’s major cities and towns running business ventures ranging from clothing retail, electrical shops and selling cell phone gadgets and accessories.

The warning was also extended to established foreign companies that are opposed to the controversial indigenization law. The law prescribes that foreign companies cede 51 percent of their stake to black Zimbabweans.

The regulations are set to take effect shortly on March 1.

Government dispute

The gazetting of the regulations immediately sparked a fresh dispute
within the country’s inclusive government. Prime minister Tsvangirai said the regulations were published without due process as detailed in the constitution. He also pointed out that the law was short-sighted and destructive as it would scare away potential investors who were willing to give the inclusive government the benefit of doubt.

The MDC views the law as too harsh for a country that still needs to
attract foreign investment and recover from a decade long unprecedented economic recession. They blame the collapse of the economy on what they describe as Zanu-PF’s populist policies.

Late last year Germany protested to the Zimbabwe government after AAG
threatened to expel Bonn-based international courier services firm DHL
unless it appointed a Zimbabwean to head its local operation.

“It is with great concern that we learned about the threats which were
put forward against a German company in Harare by members of a group
called Affirmative Action Group,” reads part of the letter by Matthias
Schumacher, first secretary and deputy head of mission.

“This kind of action highly endangers our recent efforts to resuscitate Zimbabwean-German business relations which are part of the broader relations between Zimbabwe and the EU (European Union),” the embassy said.

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