The implementation of the legal statutes that have been passed through the Doing Business Reforms Initiative are expected to cut down bureaucracy and ensure efficiency and effectiveness of some government processes.
Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo said this week that this would further create a conducive investment climate for both domestic and foreign investors.
The statutes include Ratification of Electronic Communication and Transactions and the Securities and Electronic Evidence Acts; Review of the Trade Dispute and Deeds Registry Act Legal; Establishment of the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA); Amendment of the Companies Act; Amendment of the Registration of Business Names Act; Promulgation of the Companies Re-Registration Act; and Promulgation Business Names Re-Registration Act.
These legal reforms all promote the use of electronic services platforms. “Concerted efforts continue to be directed towards speeding up implementation of the ongoing reforms to better the country’s rankings and attract Foreign Direct Investment into the country,” Kenewendo told the media on Monday.
She said with recent economic uncertainties and subdued growth, her Ministry seeks ways in which to improve operational efficiencies.
Recently, CIPA, one of the Ministry’s parastatals and the authority mandated to give a legal status to a business entity, and also ensures that the business environment within which entities operate is conducive for doing business, announced that soon they would introduce the Online Business Registration System (OBRS).
This system is expected to be launched during the first quarter of 2019, will come with improved data integrity, reduced turnaround times, less paper work and improved overall efficiency of CIPA.
On the 2018 World Bank Doing Business rankings, Botswana is ranked 81 in the world and fourth in Sub-Saharan Africa, while on the Starting a Business rankings, she is rated 153 out of 180 in the world and 31 in Africa.
Easing of doing business is one of the key programmes that Kenewendo and her team have identified as underpinning transformation in her ministry.
Kenewendo said Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are another key, and so far the ministry has achieved significant strides in development of the Leather Industry Park in Lobatse.
The project, according to her, will entail development of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant, Sewage Treatment Plant and Operation of Tanneries as well as manufacturing of leather products.
Among achievements made so far include the establishment of the Special Purpose Vehicle that will own, build, operate and maintain the Project was completed in 2016; appointment of the Project Management Team was engaged in 2016, while the Technical Advisor came on board in January 2018; Approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan in 2017 among others. The recruitment of the Chief Executive Officer who will be responsible for the running of the Park is on going; it is currently at short-listing stage, according to Minister Kenewendo.
Kenewendo further said co-operative development and promotion remain a priority in Citizen Economic Empowerment as well as contributing in poverty eradication and employment creation.
According to her, the department continues to implement the Co-operative Transformation Strategy with a view to revamp and resuscitate Co-operatives to become competitive, profitable, viable and sustainable business enterprises.
There are currently 271 Registered Co-operative Societies, financial and not financial across the country.
These Co-operatives have created a total of 130 jobs. Minister Kenewendo says Co-operatives continue to develop and implement initiatives geared towards Co-operative growth, capacity building, diversification and sustainability. The ministry has also announced its support for local manufacturing companies. It has therefore through the Control of Good, Prices and Other Charges Act, put in place measures to restrict the importation of bottled water.
“This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the water bottling sector and assisting in the national diversification efforts.
In addition, the ministry is in the process of assisting the cement industry by restricting importation of cement. This is following an analysis that showed that the sector has the potential to create employment for Batswana and contribute to economic diversification. According to Kenewendo, the proposed restrictions will require that 70 percent of cement be sourced from local manufacturing companies and 30 percent be imported.