Investors have lauded the launch of the Invest South Africa One Stop Shop (InvestSA OSS), saying it will go a long way in easing the way business is done in South Africa.
“We are very excited to be here. This one stop shop is going to make our lives easier. We are very fortunate that we come at a time of the InvestSA one stop shop which will make things much easier for us,” said Derrick CM Huang, the Managing Director of BYD Company Limited South Africa Office.
This, as President Jacob Zuma on Friday, 17 March 2017, officially launched the national InvestSA one stop shop for investors at the premises of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).
Speaking following a tour of the InvestSA office, President Zuma said government has taken a firm decision to make South Africa more investor friendly.
“Businesspeople have outlined the difficulties and hassles they face when wanting to establish new businesses, both local and foreign investors. The bureaucratic red tape has been stifling the growth of business. Businesspeople have had to visit many departments to obtain various licences. They have had to go to different offices for water, electricity and immigration services, such as visas,” said President Zuma.
The aim of InvestSA is to provide strategic guidance, reduce regulatory inefficiencies as well as to reduce red tape for all investors looking to invest in South Africa.
Among the roles of InvestSA is to promote both foreign and domestic investment, said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
“It’s a one stop shop, when you come physically to the premises you will be able to walk through the door, you will be able to interact with officials from InvestSA from the Department of Trade and Industry to find out what incentives are available, with the South Africa Revenue Service to ensure that your registration for VAT happens seamlessly among others. We offer investment information, we also offer after care services to investors,” said the Minister.
The President first announced the intention to establish the InvestSA approach and the one stop shop investor facilitation concept in August 2015 during the meeting of the Presidential Business Working Group. Work began then towards the establishment of the critical service.
Through the InvestSA office, key government departments like the Departments of Labour, Home Affairs, and Environmental Affairs and agencies like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Eskom will be available to investors under one roof.
In addition, government has directed officials to keep the service simple and short.
“An investor will make an appointment, meet with a government representatives to explain the services required and be guided by the representative. The one stop shop will provide a more coordinated, streamlined and professional service to those who wish to set up a business,” said President Zuma.
Meanwhile, government has made progress in making it easier to start a new business with self-service terminals in banks, among others, having being rolled out by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) for company registrations.
It is expected that by June this year self-service terminals will be rolled out to all provinces. These will be accessible to small businesses in rural areas. Through the automation, company registrations for local South Africans can now be registered within a day, which was previously five to seven days.
“Foreign registrations will now be fast tracked, improving turnaround times through a dedicated channel by the CIPC located at the InvestSA One Stop Shop. The above is based on fully completed applications. The Department of Home Affairs has also partnered with banks for the roll out of Smart IDs and Passports with a turnaround time of five working days,” said the President.
President Zuma urged the business community to make use of the services of InvestSA, adding that the South African government takes investment promotion seriously.
Unlock economic growth potential
“Let us unlock the economic growth potential of our country by making it easier to do business in South Africa, South Africa is an attractive destination and government is further committed to improving the investment climate and ease of doing business,” said President Zuma.
Government will also open three provincial one stop shops later in the year. These will be known as InvestSA KZN, InvestSA Gauteng and InvestSA Western Cape. Other provinces will open their one stop shops over a three year period.
Minister Davies also announced that investors did not need to physically come to the premises of the dti to access the one stop shop. They can also find information online by visiting www.investsa.gov.za
World Bank reform
As part of continuous improvement, InvestSA will coordinate inter-governmentally with the World Bank on a reform memo over a period of three to five years to improve South Africa’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings.
“We want to be reviewed by the World Bank and we are convinced that our rankings will improve considerably,” said the Presidency.
Meanwhile, Corporate Affairs Director for Nestlé South Africa Ravi Pillay congratulated government on InvestSA.
“This is a major achievement from an industry point of view. Congratulations [to government] and we look forward to its good execution,” he said.