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South Africa launches One-Stop Shop to attract investment

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma launched the Invest South Africa One-Stop Shop on Friday as part of efforts to improve business environment by improving the ease of doing business and lowering its cost.

“We are aware that it is imperative to maintain or improve in these areas in order to have a sustainable and competitive economy,” Zuma said at a ceremony in Pretoria.

The government has thus taken a firm decision to make South Africa more investor-friendly, he said.

The One-Stop Shop will be the focal point of contact for investors and government departments involved in regulatory, registration, permits and licensing.

Key departments like Home Affairs, Labor, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, SA Revenue Service and electricity utility Eskom will be available at the One-Stop Shop.

“We’re doing this because foreign direct investment is critical to assist us to meet our National Development Plan economic growth objectives of growing the economy and to create much-needed jobs,” said the president.

Zuma first announced the intention to set up the One-Stop Shop in August 2015.

“Today, we are ready to launch this service. Three Provincial One-Stops will also be launched this year in KZN (KwaZulu-Natal), Gauteng and Western Cape,” Zuma said.

Other provinces will open their One-Stop Shops over a period of three years, according to Zuma.

The One-Stop Shops is designed to attend to the needs of local and foreign investors who have complained about the difficulties and hassles they face when wanting to establish new businesses.

They have to visit many departments to obtain various licenses and go to different offices for water, electricity and immigration services such as visas.

The government has acknowledged that bureaucratic red tape has been stifling the growth of business.

“Officials at the One-Stop Shop will ensure that we drastically reduce the red tape,” Zuma said.

An investor will make an appointment, meet with a government representative to explain the services required and be guided by the representative, Zuma explained.

“The One-Stop Shop will provide a more coordinated, streamlined and professional service to those who wish to set up a business,” he said.

The South African government passed the Protection of Investment Act in December 2015 to strengthen legal safeguards for foreign investors as the country continued to suffer from a number of legislative uncertainties that discourage foreign investors.

Nonetheless, South Africa dropped by a large number of places in the doing business ranking published by the World Bank, which ranked the country 73rd out of 189 countries in 2016 compared to 69th of 189 in 2015.



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