The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) says its newly opened business facilitation centre will be an integral part of delivering effective investor facilitation and aftercare.
The centre which is among its strategic high level deliverables was unveiled this week and will be providing professional service to both new and existing foreign and citizen investors with the main aim of enabling qualifying investors in the manufacturing and selected services sectors.
The centre will further be used by such investors to secure all government clearances and approvals with ease for business start-up.
BITC’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Letsebe Sejoe, said that his parastatal has partnered with various government institutions, utilities and private companies in order to empower the centre to offer numerous investor services specifically business registration, license applications, entry visas, work and residence permits as well as exceptions and connection of utilities such as power, telecommunications and water.
He said other areas are of income tax and VAT registration, access to Industrial and commercial land, allocation of BITC factory space, provision of information on the Botswana business climate and regulatory regimes adding that services relating to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), construction and permits and opening of bank account will also to be added to this banquet of services in future.
“We have made efforts to improve on previous One Stop Shop attempts that did not yield desired results firstly by forging collaborative bi-lateral partnerships with all key stakeholders that are pertinent to a successfully functioning one stop shop,” said Sejoe.
He believes the centres are a common feature of IPAs internationally and are used to provide seamless investor services. He added that one stop shops are used by several countries across the world.
“We know of at least 67 that are in operation in different countries. Some of the countries with well-established OSS include Singapore, United Kingdom, Sweden and Nicaragua,” he stated.
Sejoe further explained that the facility within BITC offers premium service to accredited investors adding that the objective of the business centre are to ensure investors are assisted to timely acquire all of the necessary government authorisations.
The centre will also ensure that investors do not have to physically move from government office to office in search of critical services.
“It would have been our preference to make our services available to as many businesses as we can. However because of capacity and resource constraints our services will be offered to investors or businesses that meet the pre- determined illegibility criteria,” added Sejoe.
He also emphasized that CrimsonLogic has developed the one-stop-shop and national single window systems in Singapore and Mozambique. Sejoe gave an example of Singapore having been ranked number 1 out of 189 countries by the World Bank in the2 014 Ease of Doing Business Rankings.