Zimbabwe: Foreign shop owners causing cash shortages

2014-01-03 15:52

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Harare – Zimbabwe’s black empowerment agency says at least 90% of foreign shop owners don’t have bank accounts and are hiding away money or smuggling it out of the country, worsening cash shortages in the troubled economy.

The agency’s chief, Wilson Gwatiringa, said many of the foreign retailers lack proper identification documents required to open a bank account, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars staying out of the formal economy, state media reported today.

He said that “raises eyebrows” after government recently allowed foreign shop owners – mostly Chinese and Nigerian nationals – to continue in retail trade, a sector reserved for local blacks.

An independent financial research group last year reported that 85 of small businesses in the “informal economy”, with a turnover of at least $7 billion (R74 billion), weren’t paying taxes.

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