The Harare City Council is streamlining business licensing processes, with the aim of speeding business registration procedures to promote the city as a viable investment destination.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
This development follows recommendations from the doing business strategy workshop, which was held in October last year that produced a series of recommendations on the establishments of technical working groups and the steering committee centered on starting a business, trading across borders, getting credit, protecting investors and registering property and dealing with construction permits.
According to the World Bank 2015 Doing Business report, Zimbabwe ranked 170 out of 184 economies on the Doing Business ranking. On the starting a business indicator, Zimbabwe was ranked 180 out of 189 countries.
In a speech read on his behalf Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere, urged all local authorities to speedily review and harmonise their procedures on setting up businesses.
He said out of the nine steps involved in setting up a business, four of the procedures involve municipal licences.
“The information coming to me shows that City of Harare shop licencing requirements account for more than half the burden of starting a new business as measured by Doing Business,” he said at a municipal business licensing mapping stakeholder validation workshop.
He said in Zimbabwe it takes 90 days to complete registration and out of the 90 days, municipal procedures are responsible for 54 days, accounting for 60% of the total.
He said municipal licencing costs takes up 60% of the $940 cost incurred to set up a new enterprise in Zimbabwe.
“Without any doubt, the city municipal licence procedures contribute to the bulk of Zimbabwe’s regulatory burden as reported by Doing Business 2015,” he said.
Kasukuwere said government was in the process of strengthening the operations of the One-Stop Shop Centre for investment under the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), adding this would see the reduction of turnaround time to process permits and licences to five days from 90 days.
ZIA head of operations Sichoni Takoleza said the authority commissioned a starting a business review study under the broad Doing Business reforms agenda. The exercise got funding and technical support from the United States Agency for International Development.