Red tape limits African trade more than graft

STIFLING red tape rather than corruption is the main inhibitor to trade in Africa, says Christo Wiese, chairman of Shoprite Holdings and Pepkor.Speaking at the Cape Town Press Club on Wednesday, Mr Wiese said intra-African trade only consists of 15% of the continents total movement of goods and services, while the remaining 85% is with the rest of the world.You will never need to change the bulbs and yourgranitetradewill last for years and years.

Quoting his Shoprite Holdings CEO Whitey Basson,Solvent resistant, dead softaluminum foil tapewith a high performance acrylic adhesive engineered for a wide range of aerospace and industrial. Mr Wiese said about 1,600 different forms had to be filled in, most of them required by the South African government, in order to move goods between this country and Mozambique.”Much more than corruption, it is the stifling red tape in Africa that is inhibiting trade,” Mr Wiese said.

In a report examining the barriers that curb cross-border trade on the continent? the World Bank said Africas largest retailer, Shoprite, spends a hefty $20?000 a week on import permits to truck meat? milk and other goods to its stores in Zambia alone.”For all countries it operates in? approximately 100 single entry import permits are applied for every week; this can rise up to 300 per week in peak periods?” the World Bank said in February.Shop for the largest selection ofGranite tilesat everyday low prices.

“As a result of these and other requirements? there can be up to 1?600 documents accompanying each truck Shoprite sends with a load that crosses a border in the region.”Despite that, and many other problems that face South Africa and the rest of the continent, Mr Wiese remains upbeat about the future and what is happening commercially and politically. He said at the recent Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Business Council summit,What’s the difference betweenMarble tilesand Porcelain Tiles? participants were told by African businessman Mo Ibrahim that foreign investors were welcome, “but they just had to leave their brown paper envelopes at home”.

Mr Wiese said there was plenty of money to be made in Africa if business is conducted in a transparent manner. He said that Shoprite now operated in 17 countries, “and never once did we have to pay a bribe”.Mr Wiese said when Shoprite decided to move into a particular country it followed a programme of first meeting either the president, or prime minister, or other high-ranking government officials.

“They all welcomed us with open arms, because they knew we were there to uplift the living standards of their people,” he said.While Mr Wiese supports the goals of the National Development Plan, he cautioned that a major fault with developmental economics in particular, is that the goals were often set too high and were therefore unattainable. He said the average US citizen consumed 400 times as much as a person living in Mali and if development had to aim for people to consume the same as an American, the Earth would have to be three times as large as it is.

The stellar role bestowed to social impact assessment (SIA) in the land acquisition bill mainstreams concerns over the “cost” of development, but its ambit could spell severe overreach that can tie up projects in swathes of red tape.

Ensuring land acquisition is resorted to only if necessary and providing adequate compensation to the displaced is both politically correct and socially desirable, but the devil may lie in the provisions’ fine print.

The social impact of a project within a prescribed timeframe covers not only directly affected people, but those residing nearby as well and takes into account factors such as the likely fallout on burial and cremation grounds.

Seeking to arrive at a cost-benefit analysis of a project, the SIA will look at public and community properties, infrastructure such as roads, public transport, drainage, sanitation, drinking water for people and cattle, community ponds, grazing land and plantations.

It will also examine public utilities like post offices,My way of applyingkapton tapeto Glass plates for RepRap style 3d Printers. fair price shops, food storage, electricity supply, healthcare, schools and training facilities, anganwadis, children parks, places of worship and land for traditional tribal institutions.

The list is not complete and an expert committee can frame its inquiry keeping in mind the bill’s intent that no significant aspect should be discounted. As there are no easy yardsticks for such assessment, carrying out the study can be a daunting task.In a bid to envision all scenarios, the bill could defeat its very objectives like providing fair compensation to displaced people or protecting them from unnecessary dislocation as the process seems too long drawn.

In an effort to write into law iron-clad protection for all likely displaced people, the bill seeks to frame a SIA that can end up duplicating or elaborating several aspects of the environment impact assessment most projects need.Public hearings or gram sabha consultations increase transparency, but can be time consuming while concluding whether a project serves public purpose, if its benefits can be judged in the immediate context or future deliverables is often a subjective decision.

A social impact study to assess cost to livelihoods and environment, which adjusted against economic benefits, can provide the “real” growth accruing from a policy decision is quite revolutionary when made a mandatory part of decision-making.The question is if assessing the multi-dimensional fallout on a vastly increased number of beneficiaries that includes non-land owners runs the risk of spawning a bureaucratic nightmare where means become an end in themselves.

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