The Provincial Strategic Plan (2019-2024) of the Western Cape Government shares and sets out it’s vision and strategic priorities, together with the Economic Recovery Plan (March 2021) to address the economic growth of the province as a major focus area.
The Provincial Strategic Plan has 5 Vision Inspired Priorities (VIP’s), of which, the Department of Economic Development has a key mandate to deliver on VIP 2: Growth and Jobs.
A key component of the Recovery Plan approved by the Premier in March 2021, is that of creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, operate, retain revenue and create jobs via the Ease of Doing Business Unit within the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. The Business Helpline Support service is a key service of the department, with The Ease of Doing Business is a collective approach to contributing towards this enabling environment, to take place. Removing bottlenecks in the business environment is a transversal priority therefore the Department has established an Ease of Doing Business Task Team which includes representatives from the provincial economic cluster departments and the City of Cape Town. Many of the identified projects address systemic proactive solutions to challenges for industry and business.
The Red Tape Reduction Unit within the Department of Economic Development further approaches reducing red tape for the business environment by:
- Ensuring an effective and efficient Business Helpline Support service to receive requests from the citizen and businesses for assistance
- Proactively identifying legislation and regulatory processes that represent barriers to business, or the efficient delivery of services
- Designing interventions based on Trend Analysis reporting via the Business Helpline Support service to address systemic issues that need change
The outcome of interventions identified will address the cost of doing business in terms of reducing time, complexity and cost.
Did you know, that the Business Helpline Support service of the Department has assisted with over 9000 cases since its inception in 2011, and maintains a resolution rate in excess of its target of 80%?
Tools used by the Red Tape Reduction Unit:
- The Red Tape Costing Tool has been developed to assess, track and calculate the savings in red tape costs as well as the benefits to business and government as a result of red tape reduction initiatives in the province.
- Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA) have been adopted as standard practice for new policy and legislation. Cabinet approved the mandatory requirement for all significant legislation and policies.
These tools are a huge step forward for the Western Cape Government, proving that a methodical approach to reducing red tape and creating an Ease of Doing Business environment is indeed possible.
The unit also proactively conducts systematic reviews of proposed new legislation and policy, and comments thereon where necessary and retrospectively, reviews existing legislation and policy as identified in studies and thereafter lobbies for amendment or reform thereof. In both instances the reviews are done from the perspective of reducing the administrative burden the legislation or policy imposes on businesses, in order to make it easier to start, operate and grow a business in the Province. In many instances, the comments provided by the unit are incorporated in the revised draft legislation (Bills and draft regulations) and policies. E.g. The Copyright Amendment Bill. The unit was instrumental in lobbying for the amendment of the stringent visa regulations implemented by the Department of Home Affairs in May 2014.
The Red Tape Reduction Unit has partnered with sister departments to improve business-facing processes through business process improvement (BPI) projects e.g., the Department of Transport and Public Works (tourism signage and abnormal load permit applications) and Agriculture (export related processes, permit applications and auditing). Several BPI project possibilities with national departments are being explored as well. The potential for making it easier, cheaper and faster to do business in the province is immense, considering the many and varied approvals, licences and authorisations that businesses require to operate – sometimes as many as (and possibly more than) 25 in respect of a single factory or plant – and which must be obtained from a range of departments, agencies and regulators.