PS worried at slow pace of doing business reforms

14th June 2017
PermanentSecretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame Source:The Midweek Sun


By Portia Nkani - Reporter

Doing Business reforms are being implemented at a very unsatisfactory pace, disadvantaging on the ease of doing business in Botswana. The PermanentSecretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame admitted that, “we have not been as fast as we needed to be on implementing the business reforms and we are working on it.” The reforms were first approved by Cabinet in 2014.

When she came before the Parliament’s Public Accounts committee recently, Specially Elected legislator Bogolo Kenewendo asked her what was delaying the implementation of the reforms. Doing Business Reforms Roadmap of December 2014 identified and approved 49 reforms, many of which required changes in the different legislation or Acts to facilitate their implementation.

Serame indicated that, “50 percent of the reforms had legal implications and we had to enact new laws. Others which are more administrative, 30 percent have been implemented.

Some of the reforms this year, we expect to see quite a number of laws reaching Cabinet”. Responding to a similar question in Parliament from Kenewendo, earlier in February this year, Assistant minister of Investment, trade and industry, Biggie Butale also indicated that the majority of the reforms were ongoing at different stages, most of which were legislative in nature and have taken more than the anticipated time.

At the time, Butale said they were working to amend the Companies Act and the Companies Re-registration Act and also to amend the Registration of Business Names Act. He said government was currently exploring measures which might assist in accelerating implementation of the doing business reforms roadmap which included amongst others, outsourcing the drafting of legislation and prioritising business related laws during parliamentary sessions. Some of the reforms undertaken he said, included the separation of rates clearance from construction permitting processes since December 2015.

He also indicated that, the Customs Management System has replaced the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system, which paved way for the establishment of the Single Electronic Window. On another positive note, the online application platform and issuance of tax clearance certificates are now available, as well as the electronic filing and tax payment platforms. Business Trends also understands that E-Communications and Transactions Act and Regulations; and Electronic Evidence Act commenced in 2016.

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