Short licencing process good for business

THE business licencing reform programme (BLRP), which is aimed at shortening the process, will promote growth in the transport sector, a senior Government official has said. Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication permanent secretary Charles Sipanje said the reforms, which are being undertaken under the Private Sector Development Reform Programme (PSDRP), will encourage more players in the transport sector.

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) was contracted to do research in the country’s licencing procedure in the transport sector. The project will be implemented over a period of seven months with support from the German technical organisation, GIZ. Government realised that the passenger transport sector was facing growth problems because the licencing process was too long.

For registration of a mini bus, for instance, an applicant has to get authorisation from the Patents and Companies Registration Agency, an operator’s licence from the Road Transport and Safety Agency and certification from the Zambia Revenue Authority, among other requirements. “The BLRP, therefore, is necessary to stimulate private sector growth and also protect the interests of the consumers hence this project fits in well in the reform agenda as it will bring out some complimentary first-hand information on the successes, challenges and opportunities of the business licencing reform process in the public transport sector”, Mr Sipanje said in a speech read for him in Lusaka yesterday by chief planner in the Department of Planning Irene Tembo.

Earlier, CUTS board treasurer, Roseta Mwape said there was inadequate data available to engage Government in evidence-based dialogue on licencing reforms. Ms Mwape said the absence of data was hindering civil society and the private sector to effectively engage government in discussing the impact of some of the reforms undertaken. “This is the most critical feedback PSDRP coordinating unit must to be given on the reforms they are undertaking”, she said.

At the same function, CUTS International board member for Lusaka Yusuf Dodia said good road connectivity was very important in the growth of the transport sector and can also bring nations together. “Such a study has the potential to highlight successes and opportunities of the reform process which may also be used to better other transportation options”, he said.

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