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State pledges to cut business red tape

Feb 24 2011 14:36 I-Net Bridge

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Cape Town - The government is examining a raft of policy and regulatory reforms aimed at making it easier for businesses to start new projects and therefore stimulate job creation, ministers within the economic and employment cluster said on Thursday.

At a parliamentary press conference led by Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Economic Planning Minister Ebrahim Patel said they had developed concrete actions and priorities based on drivers for job creation.

Among the reforms would be the setting up of a Companies and Intellectual Property Commission under the new Companies Act, which Davies said would help make it easier to start firms due to less stringent reporting measures.

Reformation of broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) codes so that they contribute more to employment creation directly through local procurement is also on the cards.

The third reform would be an "anti-red tape campaign" to minimise unnecessary procedures for small and micro enterprises.

The ministers plan to create a "national one-stop shop" to support major projects in getting regulatory approvals and infrastructure.

They plan to strengthen the powers of the competition authorities through the amendment of the Competition Act.

Davies emphasised that the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act would change to alter the "lumpy" procurement processes that were currently in place.

"One way would be to combine all the different phases of a procurement so that they all eventually lead to greater local participation. For instance, phase one would be some local participation, phase two would be greater local content and then phase three would total local manufacture," he said.

Work was being done on the industrial policy action plan, they said. Improving the environment for the automotive sector to the tune of R2.69bn had led to the securing of R13bn in investments and the creation of 24 000 jobs.

Patel said that illegal imports continued to threaten the existence of vulnerable sectors, such as clothing and textiles, and that more capacity would be deployed to strategic ports to reduce illegal imports.

The section 12i income tax allowance incentive for job creation has garnered investments to the value of R6.8bn.

Joemat-Pettersson said that the agriculture sector was developing proposals for supporting sub-sectors in ways that maximised employment creation and to improve security.

Patel said that the government was examining the re-creation of agricultural cooperatives.

"One of the reasons for success in the white agricultural sector was its use of cooperatives to network small farmers. Many of these have since become corporatised. However, it is seen in many countries that such cooperatives help network small farmers," he said.



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