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Ease of Doing Business Bill Under the Spotlight

June 11, 2021

Parliament

Parliament has been briefed on a private member’s bill designed to provide for the assessment of regulatory measures developed by the executive, members and committees of parliament and self-regulatory bodies.

The Ease of Doing Business Bill was tabled in parliament in February 2021.

The bill’s explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43090 in March 2020.

The proposed legislation was drawn up by Henro Kruger, a Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament.

The bill defines regulatory measures as primary legislation or secondary legislation or a code, policy or similar measure developed by a self-regulatory body to exercise a form of regulatory authority over an industry or profession.

According to the explanatory summary, the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS), introduced by cabinet in 2015, “does not sufficiently address the cost of red tape”.

SEIAS requires all draft bills or regulations placed before cabinet for approval to be accompanied by impact assessments vetted by the central SEIAS Unit.

The DA holds the view that assessing the “impact of regulatory measures on the economy will improve the effectiveness, efficiency and the impact of government interventions”.

Impact assessments can reduce business entry costs and create a friendly regulatory environment for small business.

The bill aims to provide for:

• the assessment of regulatory measures developed by the Executive, members and committees of Parliament and self-regulatory bodies, so as to consider the socio-economic impact of regulatory measures, including the detection and reduction of red tape and the cost of red tape for businesses;
• the establishment of an administrative unit to assist the Executive, members of Parliament, committees of the Houses and self-regulatory bodies in the regulatory impact assessment process and to prepare regulatory impact statements;
• assistance to businesses in overcoming red tape and other challenges;
• the functions and powers of the administrative unit;
• mapping of legislation, regulatory impact assessments and the preparation of regulatory impact statements;
• exemptions;
• the evaluation of existing regulatory measures by the Executive and self-regulatory bodies; and
• matters incidental thereto.

In a briefing to the portfolio committee on public service and administration, Henro Kruger pointed out that the bill attempts to get political buy-in, through legislation, so that all SMMEs overcome binding and systemic constraints, can operate in a business friendly environment, experience level playing fields and interact with government and its agencies, with far less red tape.

The plan, therefore, is to stimulate economic growth and ultimately job creation and growth.

Kruger also declared that three decades of unnecessary regulatory burdens have hindered the starting and running of small businesses and subsequently also hindered economic growth and creation of jobs.

“Change is a reality, and the business community needs change now”, he said.