Govt completes ease of doing business reforms

Tuesday, 05 September 2017
Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame. Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame.

Government is on the verge of completing legislative reforms which are aimed at ensuring the ease of doing business in Botswana improves, a government technocrat has disclosed. 

The country has over the years been criticised for its stiff laws which are considered to be inhibiting the ease of doing business in Botswana, but according to ministry of investment, trade and industry’s Permanent Secretary, Peggy Serame, that will soon come to an end. 

“To address these challenges (ease of doing business), government has adopted the doing business reform framework that is aimed towards reducing turnaround time for starting a business, paying taxes, facilitating cross border trading, issuing construction permits, just to name but a few,” said Serame. 

She was speaking in Gaborone recently during the re-launch of the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub Botswana office. The office has been established to increase international competitiveness, intra-regional trade and food security in Southern Africa. 

Serame, who spoke on behalf of Minister Vincent Seretse, told attendants that during the current financial year a bulk of the legislative reforms are expected to be completed. “We are also in the process of revamping the one stop service centre for Botswana,” she said. 

The Permanent Secretary is adamant that once all the legislative reforms have been passed, Botswana’s rate of investor attraction will improve. Serame, an economist by training, said the USAID office can only strengthen the relationship between the two parties. 

USAID and Botswana partnership has over the years borne fruits especially when it comes to improving the ease of doing business. “We can attest that the US government shares these goals and we appreciate your support in working with us through USAID for the benefit of Botswana,” she added.

US Ambassador to Botswana, Earl Miller said the new office has come at a better time when US is focusing more on investment attraction and reducing barriers to trade. “With the launch of the newest version of the trade Hub, the US government added a key word-investment- to underscore investment opportunities in the region and the tremendous gains to be made by focusing on investment partnerships with the private sector,” said Miller. 

Meanwhile, Serame has announced that government and the US will next Tuesday launch the Africa Growth Opportunity Act. “This collaborative effort is clearly aimed at unlocking Botswana’s export potential and thereby taking advantage of the US market,” she said. AGOA, which was signed into law more than 15 years ago, is aimed at creating export opportunities for select African countries.

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