TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
Bar and nightclub owners are feeling the pinch under Covid-19 lockdown and are appealing for a government financial bailout, Business Times can report.
Bars and nightclubs, which the government believes pose as super spreaders of the deadly virus, have been closed for more than a year now to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
“We paid for licences we never used from 2020 to 2021 and we will be required to renew those licences from 2021 to 2022, which include, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and liquor licenses. In order to do this we need tax clearances, which we cannot get from ZIMRA,” Bulawayo’s Liquor Traders Association chairperson Rejoice Mafukidze told Business Times.
She added: “As we are not operating bars and nightclubs, instead we are required to get a new device that ZIMRA has rolled out a $ZWL/USD which costs US$695 per device just to receive tax clearances.”
“We would like to get assistance from the government and other stakeholders to help us recover from this pandemic.”
Mafukidze said a significant number of stocks have been lost as they expired.
“Also we have incurred bills during this period of time we are liable to pay and there is no assistance coming to aid us. We have had to send employees home who have no idea when they will return to service.
“Long term investments in our businesses such as infrastructural developments, lay ideal and we are submerging into debt everyday.”
Mafukidze said uncertainty was growing in their business.
Although the government closed bars and nightclubs, there are unscrupulous owners who have been operating illegally around the country.
There have been running battles with the police.
Some have been arrested together with their patrons.