2 February 2017

Zambia: Regulatory Service Centres Mooted

THE Government will establish regulatory service centres in all provinces in the country to increase accessibility to business registration and licensing services.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said plans were underway to have regulatory service centres across the country to ensure increased access to business registration and licensing services.

Ms Mwanakatwe said currently only two regulatory services centres offering one-stop business registration services were in place in Lusaka and Livingstone.

She was speaking during the private sector sensitisation conference held under the theme: "Fostering increased private sector consultation for better regulation in the business environment" in Lusaka yesterday.

"One of the facets of good regulatory practices is the incorporation of public consultation.

"In this regard, I would like to reiterate Government's commitment to incorporate all stakeholders at all the phases of creating policies and regulations that affect the business environment," Ms Mwanakatwe said.

She said this was important in creating better policies and regulations which had positive social and economic impact.

"The Government has integrated public consultation in the policy and regulatory making process, it is now legal requirement to conduct regulatory impact assessments on all proposed business policies and regulations," Ms Mwanakatwe said.

Acting British High Commissioner to Zambia, Andrew Hamilton said Government should be consistent with policies they come up with as decisions to arbitrarily change policy risk scaring away potential investors and damage the medium-term opportunities for the country to prosper.

Mr Hamilton said complexities around which government departments were responsible for which area had the potential to demoralise entrepreneurs and investors as they struggle to navigate the bureaucracy that existed.

"A successful regulatory system has to be inclusive, it is essential in that being inclusive does not necessarily mean that you are going to get consensus around decisions," he said.

And Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) chairperson Sangayakula Sanga called on government to reduce the cost of capital to encourage more investment in the country.

"The high cost of capital and the interest rates are hindering local investors in participating in the economic activities. There is need for Government to address this issue," he said.

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