Govt urged to speed up business reforms

FRANCISTOWN: Government has been urged to fast track the implementation of new business reforms in an effort to attract potential investors.

Speaking at the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) workshop at Cresta Thapama Hotel recently, senior manager at National Strategy Office (NSO) Mbakiso Morapedi said business regulation and deregulation, as well as their impact on economic development and growth had taken an increasingly high profile in development discussion in recent years.

“Legislation should specify what is unlawful and make every other activity legal, creating more opportunities and room for business operations. There is currently too much licensing in Botswana. Every business activity has to be licensed, limiting the space for business to operate and drive away potential investors,” he said.

Morapedi further said the Trade Act and the associated licensing procedures fell far short of international best practice. “Trade licensing impose unnecessary costs and risks on the private sector, and is a major barrier to the emergence

of new business activities and the graduation of informal sector business to the formal sector. As presently structured and implemented, trade licensing is inconsistent with the broader national objectives of economic diversification, employment creation and economic growth. It needs urgent extensive reform,” he said.

Morapedi also said they should maintain licences for areas related to public health and safety, only, adding that trade and generally licensing should be abolished. He also noted that the requirements to perform an EX-Ante (before) inspection of business premises prior to insurance of licence or a permit should be maintained for businesses that posed a threat to public health and safety.

Morapedi noted that inspection should be performed in a risk-based system, adding that government should accord the private sector space to operate in the business arena without interfering.




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