Making SA investor friendly
How South Africa is working hard to attract investors and improve their experience of doing business in the country
South Africa is pulling out all the stops to entice investors and make their experience of doing business in the country a hassle-free one. The Invest South Africa (Invest SA) One Stop Shop in the Western Cape, which was launched recently by President Jacob Zuma, will go a long way in helping to achieve this.
The President said the launch of the centre, where investors can access a variety of services from government departments and agencies under one roof, is an indication of how all three spheres of government can collaborate to cut red tape.
He added that government, business and organised labour needed to ensure that this positive trajectory was sustained.
Putting the economy first
“Creating an environment where the economy can grow, and jobs can be created for our people, comes first for our government. Our people do need jobs, they need to be able to put food on the table. Young people need jobs, they are sitting at home with degrees and diplomas.
“It is for this reason that we are focusing on creating the right environment for investments into the economy from abroad and from within the country,” said the President.
It is against this backdrop, of putting the economy first, that government is establishing One Stop Shops to make it easier for investors to do business in South Africa.
President Zuma said for a long time the investor community complained about being met with bureaucratic hurdles from the state, which made it difficult for them to do business. Invest SA is government's concrete response to these concerns.
“The idea of One Stop Shops is simple. All key regulatory and administrative departments and agencies are housed in a single location to provide an integrated service to investors. This is happening for the first time in our history.”
Reducing red tape
The One Stop Shops provide a convenient, professional service for setting up a business.
All an investor needs to do is to make an appointment with the relevant government representative at the One Stop Shop to explain the services required and the government representative provides guidance and support to the investor.
Key Departments such as Home Affairs, Labour, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as the Companies Intellectual Property Commission, South African Revenue Service and a visa facilitation service, are available at the One Stop Shop.
“From permits to water or electricity services, tax issues,
licensing – it should be easy for an investor to get all these services under one roof. Officials at the One Stop Shops are trained and briefed to provide such specialist advisory services.
“They are meant to help potential investors find all services under one roof. Our intention is to unblock and reduce red tape in government.”
This is an approach that is achieving the required results.
“Since the launch of the national One Stop Shop on 17 March this year, we have seen a significant improvement in the overall investor facilitation and after service.
“If we continue in this direction, we will continue to see results and achieve the growth rates envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP), added the President.
The NDP envisages that the combined investment by the private and public sectors rises from the current levels of around 19 percent of gross domestic product to 30 percent by 2030.
Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said since the launch of the national Invest SA centre, 101 walk-ins had been recorded at the centre and 277 investor consultations had been done. Four investor blockages were identified, escalated to the relevant departments and they were later resolved.
President Zuma said government acknowledged that investors, both foreign and domestic, as well as other business owners, shared concerns about the state of the country's economy.
“These concerns include the continued slow economic growth, rising government debt, and poor performance by some state-owned companies and enterprises.We share these concerns. They are our concerns too, and we are taking steps to address them,” he stressed.
To address these challenges and formulate concrete measures to turn the situation around, the President convened a meeting of the Economic Cluster Ministers earlier in the year.
“I called the meeting to also communicate to the Ministers that we need to act with a strong measure of urgency. It is simply not sufficient to say we have the
NDP anymore. We need to move faster to implement it,” he added.
Government is accelerating the implementation of the NDP because it believes that it is the only plan that will lead to inclusive growth and help create jobs.
The meeting agreed on clear implementation timelines for the key structural reforms related to the Nine-Point Plan to reignite economic growth.
The Nine-Point Plan prioritises action in a number of areas.
There is an increased focus on industrialisation, mining and beneficiation, agriculture and agro-processing, energy, small, medium as well as micro enterprises, attracting investments, growing the oceans economy and tourism.
In addition, cross-cutting areas such as science and technology, water and sanitation, infrastructure, transport infrastructure and broadband roll-out have also been prioritised.
A specific programme also focuses on the development of black industrialists, as part of promoting radical socio-economic transformation. This initiative aims to expand the industrial base of the country and grow the economy by bringing the majority to productive sectors such as manufacturing.
“The Economic Cluster has produced measures to add impetus to the Nine-Point Plan,” the President added.
While Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has announced some of these measures, more are expected when he delivers the Mid-term Policy Statement.
While there is no denying the challenges facing the economy, the President stressed that it was not all doom and gloom.
“Our country is doing well on many fronts and life is improving for many people on a daily basis, as basic services are extended on an ongoing basis. We need to unite as South Africans and put our country first,” he urged.
President Jacob Zuma with Western Cape Economic Development MEC Alan Winde, City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille and Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani
Magwanishe at the opening of the Invest SA One Stop Shop.