New attempt by municipality to cut red tape for businesses

PREMIUM

Five years ago, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality launched a one-stop-shop for potential investors to make it easier to do business in the city. It failed.
The municipality will give it another go, this time pinning its hopes on a new computer system to ensure its success.
The metro’s economic development boss, Anele Qaba, said this time the city would use an electronic management system to centralise applications for investors and businesses.
It launched its first onestop-shop in 2014 and later launched a one-stop-shop for small business owners.
But Qaba said the centre was operational only as an information centre.
The new centre is envisioned to be a facility for businesses and potential investors to provide advice on business incentives and assist and fasttrack rezoning applications and any service-related queries.
The aim is to cut through red tape which often frustrates business. In a report to the economic development portfolio committee on Tuesday, Qaba wrote that the lack of co-ordination in the municipality made the processes burdensome for entrepreneurs.
“In the municipality, an applicant must take plans to the different municipal departments in order to obtain comments,” Qaba wrote.
“One way to simplify this process is by introducing an electronic submission system that would assist in streamlining the process.”
Qaba wrote that modern one-stop-shops had become electronic and allowed for requests to be approved simultaneously.
“The success of the onestop-shop hinges on efficient co-ordination among all departments involved and often requires comprehensive legislation that ensures information sharing and establishes [an] oversight mechanism.”
He said the latest research indicated that an electronic system was the best approach.
Qaba said the system would be linked to the human settlement department’s electronic land use management system.
“What is happening is that the applications process never had a centralised electronic management system.
“Initially, we had people who were coming from other departments but these things were still not coming through a single point and controlled through an electronic management system,” Qaba said.
He said the move was in line with recommendations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report.
The initial approach was to take people from various departments to one office.
“But that is not in the latest research that has been done; that is not how to get it done,” Qaba said..

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