NEW radical measures are being undertaken by the Gauteng provincial government to remove administrative bottlenecks and red tape in the province.
Gauteng MEC for economic development, environment, agriculture and rural development Lebogang Maile said last week that the provincial government was hard at work to reduce both the regulatory burden and developmental approval processes, especially on environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
“We are glad to announce that we have made significant progress in reducing the EIA approval process and time, having reduced the time taken from about 24 months to now doing it within 90 days. With this new standard we will be making further process improvements and reducing the time it takes for an EIA to be approved even more significantly to just 30 days,” Maile said.
He said that the main goal was to promote local and foreign direct investment, economic growth, job creation and to ensure quality service delivery. “We want to develop our economy in a manner that takes into account the social, economic and environmental impact of development activities, including disadvantages and benefits. “We want all these to be considered, assessed and evaluated before approving any development so that we can grow our economy in a sustainable manner.”
The provincial government commissioned a study on the cost of doing business within Gauteng, which identified, among other things, the delays in the approval of EIA as one of the major impediments to conduct business in the province.
“We have taken significant steps to address some of the bottlenecks identified in the study,” Maile said. We want to reduce the cost of doing business within our city region so that this can fuel investment in world class transport and other infrastructure to make it easier to do business in Gauteng.”
Other measures being undertaken to improve the ease of doing business in the province include the establishment of special economic zones to mitigate against the high cost of electricity, improving government procurement processes with the introduction of the open tender system and improving government payment cycles with payment of suppliers now being done in 15 days instead of 30 days.
Maile also outlined the benefits of the Gauteng Environment Standard, which will allow specified activities in certain geographic areas to be undertaken without requirement to obtain environmental authorisation subject to conditions set out in the standard.
“We want Gauteng to be an environment where the policy and regulatory space can incentivise business to come up with new solutions and innovations to address our societal challenges and hence have committed to a regulatory model that enables new ideas to come to life and flourish, that encourages and promotes entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship,” the MEC said.
“That is why along with this new standard for EIAs we have also taken other measures to reduce the cost of doing business in Gauteng and improve the ease of doing business, such as the one-stop shop Invest SA facility that we relaunched in Sandton last week, a facility for investment and trade facilitation.”