The establishment of the InvestSA One Stop Shop in KwaZulu-Natal has been welcomed by the business community as it will help unlock opportunities for business growth in the region.
Speaking at the launch of the One Stop Shop in Durban on Saturday, Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Business Chambers Council, Dominic Collett, said: “[This centre] provides the people of KwaZulu-Natal with a hope of prosperity and job creation through the injection of investment from outside the province.”
The primary aim of the provincial One Stop Shops is to co-ordinate and incorporate special economic zones, provincial investment agencies, local authorities and the relevant government departments involved in regulation, registration, permits and licensing matters.
The InvestSA One Stop Shop initiative is one of government’s efforts aimed at improving the business environment by reducing bureaucratic red tape, lowering the cost of doing business and improving the ease of doing business in South Africa in order to create a sustainable and competitive economy.
“It is envisioned [the One Stop Shop will] strengthen the province’s value proposition to investors as a preferred destination for investment.
“It will also attract new markets in KwaZulu-Natal through creating conducive environment for trade and investment, making the province a gateway to Africa and the world,” said Collett.
He said KwaZulu-Natal, specifically Durban’s, competitiveness in attracting Foreign Direct Investment is has been unsatisfactory compared to the other major cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The sub optimal performance has been attributed to the barriers of doing business in the province which include obtaining permits for water and electricity services as well as tax issues, said Collett.
Addressing the launch, President Jacob Zuma said investment promotion is critical for the economy.
“We look upon new or expanding businesses to contribute to much-needed job creation for our people. For us to be able to draw in new investments, we need to create a conducive environment.
“It is for this reason that the One Stop Shop InvestSA Centres are being established,” President Zuma said.
He said government has been sensitised by businesspeople in various forums about challenges they face when seeking to establish businesses in South Africa due to various bureaucratic requirements.
“The One Stop Shops will not immediately resolve all the challenges experienced by investors, however, every concerted effort is put in place to remedy the challenges,” said the President.
The InvestSA One Stop Shops will be the point of contact for investors to obtain permits, licences and other regulatory requirements.
Services offered by key departments such as Home Affairs, Labour, Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry and agencies such as Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, South African Revenue Service, Visa Facilitation Service centres, among others will be available at the One Stop Shop.
“Government wants to make it easier for citizens as well to establish businesses. As a result, the registration of businesses has been made quicker and easier. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission has rolled out self-service terminals in partnership with banks, local economic development agencies and chambers for company registrations,” he said.
By June this year, self-service terminals were rolled out to all provinces and are accessible to small business in rural areas.
Furthermore, the Department of Home Affairs has partnered with banks to roll out Smart ID cards and passports with a turnaround time of five working days.
“The establishment of these new services should assist to further enhance our country’s attractiveness as an investment destination,” President Zuma said.
He said in light of the current economic challenges, government needs to do more to create an environment that supports investment and helps the country reach the growth targets mentioned in the National Development Plan.
The KwaZulu-Natal One Stop Shop will be housed at the offices of Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, as the agency that carries the provincial mandate to attract and retain investment in the province.
The province has further established satellite offices at Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone. The satellite office at Dube Trade Port is ready for operation while the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone is still under construction.