State committed to positive reforms

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State committed to positive reforms
Livingstone, July 19, 2013, ZANIS….Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and
Industry Richwell Siamunene says the Patriotic Front (PF)
government is committed to introducing positive reforms  to enhance the
business environment in the country.

And Mr. Siamunene says the massive infrastructure development taking
place in Livingstone is befitting the country’s tourism capital which
will in-turn bring economic development.

The deputy minister was speaking when he officially opened a business seminar under the
theme, “Business in A Fast Changing Economy; An Innovative Glance into
the Future Through Trade and Tourism”, at Chrismar Hotel in Livingstone today.

Mr. Siamunene said the government was currently in the process of
eliminating another 60 unnecessary business licenses adding that the various
laws to effect these changes are being worked on.

He said the introduction of single business levy at local authorities,
elimination of 104 unnecessary licenses were some of other measures
implemented by the government aimed at improving the business
environment in the country.

He added that government was also investing in the use of information
communication technologies(ICTs) for service delivery, and
streamlining procedures through intervention such as one stop shops
and one stop border posts all aimed at enhancing the environment for
doing business.

Mr. Siamunene noted that few years back the major complaint from the
private sector was the choking bureaucratic procedures and
inefficiencies that made it expensive to do business forcing many
players in the sector to operate outside the law.

“ If we are to go back a few years ago, the biggest complaint from
the private sector was the choking bureaucratic procedures and
inefficiencies that made it too expensive to do business in the
country forcing many of you to operate outside the law,” said Mr.

“And you can bear witness that the removal of some of  these
bottlenecks by the government has made it possible for the private
sector to flourish and i can assure you that we are committed to
further reforms,” he said.

He also said government was actively seeking new markets for Zambian
manufactured products through regional integration and other global
negotiating platforms.

The Deputy Minister, however noted that poor quality of business
infrastructure especially in rural areas, inefficiencies in the
taxation system, the high cost of borrowing, lack of appropriate
skills, the influence of fuel costs and frequent power outages were some
of the challenges that directly influence the cost of doing business in
the country.

But he hastened to say government has prioritised all the challenges
through various interventions to make a conducive environment for the
private sectors operate in the country.

“Addressing some of these challenges is cumbersome because these are
not small matters to overcome but with support from the business
community we are making steady and sound progress,” said Mr.

He pointed out that government will continue to pay attention to the local
business community in the same manner it does with foreign investors.

“Government will continue to support local investors in the same
manner it does to foreign investors because you are our ambassadors to
foreign investors. Any serious investor takes stock of the local
sentiments before making an investment decision and if you the local
business community do not know what government is doing you cannot be
expected to represent us in your interactions with foreign investors,”
Mr. Siamunene said.

He expressed hope that the business seminar will help Zambian
entrepreneurs to tap business opportunities into the United Nations
World Tourism General Assembly (UNWTO) to be co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe in August, this year.

Meanwhile, Mr. Siamunene said the massive infrastructure development
taking place in Livingstone is befitting a country’s tourism capital
which will spar economic development  making
Zambia a preferred tourist destination for years to come.

Earlier,  Mr. Siamunene who toured the stands in the on-going 7th
Southern Province, Tourism, Agriculture and Commercial Show(STACCS)
said there was need to put much emphasis on constructing
permanent infrastructure in the show grounds to woe as many foreign and
local exhibitors as possible.

He further said government was committed to ensuring that only goods
of high standards were allowed into the country.