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Government plans to make it easier to do business in South Africa

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Government plans to cut the red tape and make it easier to do business in South Africa by setting up a national one-stop shop to assist with investment approvals, reforming BEE codes and simplifying forms and procedures faced by small businesses.

These measures, among others, were outlined by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti in a briefing in Parliament.

Nkwinti, who chairs the government?s cluster on economic sectors and employment, mapped out the work of the cluster for the year ahead.

He said the reform of the BEE codes would contribute more to creating jobs through local procurement with focus on incentivising support for local procurement, small businesses and broad-based ownership.

Other initiatives involved the formation of Companies and Property Intellectual Commission, which would takeover from the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).

The powers of the Competition Commission and Tribunal would also be strengthened through the amendment of the Competition Act, which plans to criminalise cartel involvement.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said the idea to set up a one-stop agency would involve the bolstering the capacity of Trade and Investment South Africa (Tisa), which already helps facilitate international investments in the country and falls under the Department of Trade and Industry.

Davies said the campaign to minimise red tape for small businesses includes the roll out of an initiative to assist certain municipalities to cut regulations that effect small enterprises, following the conclusion last year of a pilot focusing on several municipalities.

Added to this, he said, the new Companies Act, due to come into effect on 1 April, will see less onerous regulations for small companies.

The Consumer Protection Act, due to come into effect on the same date, would also stimulate the economy.

The minister pointed to the example of building regulations, where many contractors neglect to fit lights and plugs that meet the compulsory specifications for electrical installations in new buildings and said that under the Consumer Protection Act, homeowners would have recourse meaning more work for contractors, which he believed would benefit the economy.

"Now what will happen is that everyone who is involved in the process - the retailer, the housing contractor - will no longer be able to say "I didn?t know about that, that?s what I was given by the shop? - they will now have responsibility for that.

"And we think that is the kind of effective regulation that will protect our consumers against unsafe products and our industries against unfair competition from low quality products,' he said.

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel said reducing the red tape for business owners and entrepreneurs faced involved tackling four areas, namely:

  • Speeding up the time it took for businesses to process documents at government agencies.
  • Reducing the number forms of business owners have to fill out.
  • Creating a more co-ordinated system so that business owners wouldn?t have to be sent from pillar to post.
  • Setting up one-stop shops so that businesses wouldn?t have to go to various places to get the same thing.

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