Opinion: Social Responsibility in Africa – do the right thing
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday demanded urgent measures against corruption, red tape and lack of transparency in state institutions, since these are factors that undermine the development of a healthy business environment.
Speaking at a Maputo meeting held to reflect on the business environment, Nyusi said these factors also hold back the economic development needed to secure improvements in the quality of life, and so they should be rapidly eradicated.
He was concerned at Mozambique’s continued poor showing in the World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” report, despite reforms undertaken by the government to improve the business environment.
The rankings in the 2017 report put Mozambique in 137th place, out of 190 countries. It is in 12th position out of the 15 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Friday meeting was intended to analyse the business environment from the perspective of indicating solutions and sharing responsibilities for implementing them. It drew together stakeholders from the government and the private sector to look at why reforms were taking so long to implement.
“This is something which greatly concerns us”, said Nyusi. “The question we should ask is: why, even in the midst of reforms, which are bearing fruit in, for example the Single Attendance Counters, among other small but coordinated steps, we are not managing greater improvements in the business environment?”. (The Single Attendance Counters are where businesses can find, in the same place, all the institutions they need to deal with matters such as licensing, rather than chasing from office to office all over the city).
Nyusi compared Mozambique with other African countries better placed in the rankings. He said there could be no justification for Mozambique requiring 40 days and six separate procedures to transfer the ownership of a building, when Rwanda only needs three procedures and 12 days.
Exporting from Mozambique could take 78 days “and we need to reduce that significantly since neighbouring Swaziland does it in three days”, noted the President. “Our imports take 14 days, but in Botswana the delay is only four days. Why do we need 950 days to solve a commercial dispute, whereas in Sudan it only takes 298 days?”
Investors at the meeting added other problems that damage the business environment – including access to finance, inadequate transport and electricity infrastructures, inconsistent application of the law by different state institutions, and high interest rates
Nyusi demanded serious work to change the current scenario. He believed that improving the investment climate, with reforms intended to ensure macro-economic stability, would be a first step towards the development of a robust national private business sector, with competitive micro, small and medium enterprises, contributing substantially towards job creation.
“I believe we can all know what should be done”, he said. “But it’s important that each of us does his part. If we want to be competitive, we need to work in a structured, organised and harmonious fashion”.
Nyusi called on the private sector to be a more active partner in the legal, technological and procedural reforms which can help eliminate all the barriers and inefficiencies which hinder the improvement of the business environment.
The government, he said, takes responsibility for disseminating information about procedures so that everyone can be clear about which must be done in order to invest in the country, and to keep direct and frank channels of dialogue open between the government and business, in order to consolidate the partnership between the public and private sectors.Source: AIM