What is Ease Of Doing Business?
The Ease of doing Business (EDB) is a Government initiative that aims to transform the way in which Rural District Councils (RDCs) deliver services to their stakeholders.
Specifically, EDB seeks to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Councils by improving the quality of services offered to its stakeholders and residents.
Rapid Results Approach
The EDB is implemented through the Rapid Results Approach (RRA). The RRA is a structured process that uses short-term (.e.g.100 days) Projects to speed up the rate at which Rural District Councils achieve their results or goals by breaking down the project into milestones and activities. The Short term goals therefore become the building blocks toward the achievement of the long term goals.
Why the Ease Of Doing Business?
The World Bank prepares annual reports investigating regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. This assessment is done over 190 economies in the world. Currently, as at 2016, Zimbabwe is ranked 161 out of 190 world economies. The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) then took an initiate to improve this poor performance of the country in the EDB.
The following Sectors were identified for the reforms:
v. Local Authorities.
For the Rural Local Government Sector, the programme was officially launched by the OPC on the 24th of May 2017 at Rainbow Towers in Harare. The official launch was attended by Officials from the Ministry of Rural Development Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage headed by the outgoing Permanent Secretary, Dr. Thokozile Chitepo as well as the incoming Mr. George Magosvongwe ,RDC Chairpersons and their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which part sponsored the launch.
During the Launch, after group discussions, the delegates identified factors impeding the Ease Of Doing Business in RDCs. The issues identified informed the formulation of the RRA Goal for the first 100 days. Some of the impediments include and not limited to :
→ Outdated regulations, legislation;
→ Dwindling Revenues at RDCs;
→ Poor Internal systems and procedures;
→ Conflicting roles between Central and Local Government
The first 100 days focused on reducing time taken by RDCs to process applications for Stands, Business Permits, Shop Licenses and Plan Approvals from at least 90 days to 5 working days in order to offer efficient, effective and value for money service delivery.
Milestones – the first 100 days
→Identifying Issues impeding the ease of doing business
→Review of Legislation, by laws and procedures
→Provision of Internet Services
→ Public awareness and capacity building on the ease of doing business
What are the benefits?
The immediate benefits of the Ease of Doing Business Reforms are that RDCs become more accessible and responsive to their stakeholders.
Generally, investors shy away from bureaucratic processes therefore the ease of doing business reforms transform RDCs into viable targets for foreign and local investment.
Looking Ahead – Next 100 days
In the next 100 days, each and every RDC will have its own dashboard to evaluate progress in Ease of Doing Business Reforms. The Ministry of Rural Development Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage and the ARDCZ will also have dashboards to evaluate the same. The Key Milestones in the forthcoming 100 days is to do a thorough legislative review of the Acts and policies affecting the ease of doing business in RDCs. This process will also include the drafting of the new RDCs Act.
Another key milestone in the following 100 days is on developing a standard resource mobilization strategy under the local economic development drive.