Government comes face to face with Harare’s tuck-shops jungle; Minister told ZW$ not viable

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By Leopold Munhende | Chief Correspondent

INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Sthembiso Nyoni Monday came face to face with Harare’s tuck-shops jungle where she was not only told Zimbabwe’s dollar had no place but saw first-hand how immigrants, including refugees, had illegally taken over the reserved sector.

Nyoni toured tuck-shops along Rezende Street where most of Zimbabwe’s unemployed population have set up shop, creating an informal economy that trades exclusively in US dollars.

The small shops were built by Harare City Council and are rented out with little to no diligence.

Nyoni bumped into refugees who owned tuck-shops, and had no documentation but were given access to the sector.

“There are some people where I have been who have no swipe machines and only take US dollars but their shops are very big,” said Nyoni.

“This means there are certain Zimbabweans who cannot access these shops because they are paid in Zimbabwean dollars.”

She was told by a female attendant they only take US dollars as that was the only currency they could buy goods with. Due to the Zimbabwe Dollar’s unstable nature, it has been dumped and reserved for official use in government departments or formal shops.

Investigations by revealed authorities have been allocating retail licenses to foreigners in contravention of the law.

The investigation exposed how over the past years, retailing and wholesaling had now become dominated by foreign nationals.

Nyoni found loads of illegally imported goods from South Africa being sold in Harare without Import Licenses as required by law.

An attendant at one of the tuck shops revealed that they were getting the goods from Kambuzuma, a high-density suburb in Harare, where trucks were delivering them. She said they had been assured that the company importing had relevant papers.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been dominated by small tuck shops selling largely imported goods and owned by Pakistanis, Kenyans, Ethiopians and Nigerians.

Zanu PF and Harare’s Municipality have over the years been in a race to set up these tuck-shops across the city. The ruling party is allocating shops to its supporters, especially along Simon Muzenda Street.