Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Zimbabwe. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Zimbabwe to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Reserve the company name with the Chief Registrar of Companies

    Agency: Chief Registrar of Companies

    Forms are available online but all documents must be physically lodged at Companies and Deeds Registry. The reservation is valid for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days for an additional fee.

    7 days USD 5

    File the memorandum and articles of association with the Registrar of Companies

    Agency: Registrar of Companies

    The law provides for model or boilerplate articles of incorporation. On the date of incorporation, the Registrar of Companies must be notified of the appointments of the company’s directors and secretaries. This is done by filing the particulars of the directors and secretaries and any changes therein or a list of directors and principal officers (Form CR 14). These documents must be accompanied by a duplicate original or a printed notarized copy.

    Registration Fee is US$ 5 for every US$ 100 or part thereof of the nominal/authorized capital of the company with a minimum fee of US$ 100.
    In practice, companies usually start up with a low amount of capital to avoid the exorbitant stamp duty. A company may also issue shares at a premium to circumvent the requirement.

    14 days see procedure details

    Open a bank account

    Agency: Bank

    Business founders must open a bank account before registration with the Tax Authorities.

    1 day no charge

    Register with the tax authorities for income tax, VAT, and PAYE

    Agency: Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

    Upon formation, a company must register at the regional Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Office. A copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation is required for the Collector's records, along with the memorandum and articles of association and a certified copy of the identification of the assigned public officer. The company will be issued a registration number, as well as the current tax tables and the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) receipt books. The P8 and P6 Forms now must be generated by the applicant and are not freely available. The ITF 16 Form must be completed in consultation with the Income Tax Office. According to Zimbabwe’s Finance Act (as amended), companies must now budget to pay all their company tax within the trading year. The tax must be paid as follows: 10% by the 25th of March, 25% by the 25th of June, 40% by the 25th of September, and the balance of the estimated tax for the tax year by the 20th of December.

    Firms with a turnover of US $60,000 must register for VAT with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA). An application must be submitted for a Certificate of Registration (Form VAT 1), which, along with Forms VAT 2 and VAT 3, is found at ZIMRA Web site (www.zimra.co.zw). Firms with a turnover of less than US $60,000 may apply for voluntary VAT registration.

    5 days no charge
    * 5

    Register with the National Social Security Authority for pension and Accident Prevention and Compensation Scheme

    Agency: National Social Security Authority

    The employer and the employee must each contribute 3% of employee the gross monthly salary.

    14 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
    * 6

    Register with the Manpower Development Fund

    Agency: Manpower Development Fund

    Employers must register with, and contribute 1% of their wage bill to, the state-run Manpower Development Fund. The fund allows employers to recover expenses when employees complete training.

    1 day (simultaneous with procedure 4) no charge
    * 7

    Pick up the form of license application notice from the City Health Department

    Agency: City Health Department

    The entrepreneur then retrieves the license application notice form from the City Health Department.

    1 day (simultaneous with procedure 4) USD 20
    * 8

    Advertise the application for a trade and business license in a local newspaper

    Agency: Newspaper

    A trade and business license applicant must publicly announce the proposed application twice in a local newspaper. The form, Notice of intention to apply for the issuance of a new license, is available from the City Health Department. The first notice must be published no more than 6 weeks, but at least 4 weeks, before the application will be heard by the licensing authority. The second notice must appear 7 days after the first notice. Any objections to the application must be submitted in writing to the licensing authority within 7 days of the second notice.

    4-6 weeks (simultaneous with procedure 4) USD 30

    Submit an application form for the issuance of new licenses to the Licensing Office in Harare Municipality

    Agency: Licensing Office in Harare Municipality

    Two copies of the application forms are submitted along with proof of both publications in a local newspaper of a notice of intention to operate a business. On receipt of the application, the Licensing Office requests a police report from the applicant, as well as a similar report from the person who will be in actual and effective control of the premises to which the application relates, if that person is not the same applicant. The Licensing Office also seeks a report from the Harare Town Planner to ensure that the application is consistent with the zoned use of the premises.

    Application for the license can start once the Registrar of Companies grants its approval of the company name. It is also possible to apply for a temporary license pending the grant of the full license, which can take up to a month or longer.

    34 days USD 530
    * 10

    Receive inspection by the Licensing Officers

    Agency: Licensing Office in Harare Municipality

    Officers inspect the company site to check if the workplace premises are suitable for the intended use. The verification criteria used by the officers are specified in the relevant bylaws.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.