UPND Business Consultation Survey Findings
14 October 2015
The UPND has spent the past six weeks consulting entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, and investors as to how government can better support them to create jobs and drive sustainable economic growth through its 2015 Business Consultation Survey.
We have also consulted respondents about how we can create more opportunities for young Zambians in particular, such as through apprenticeship schemes and skills training and transfer initiatives. Such consultation is important in order to develop and refine policy proposals and initiatives to ensure they are well targeted and deliver maximum benefit. It is also helpful in informing our calculations as to what is manageable in terms of delivery to the Zambian people before promising the world and delivering very little.
Common to the responses we received were complaints that government is too heavy handed and inconsistent, often over-complicating processes, creating too much red tape and causing policy instability. All of which increase the time and cost of doing business in Zambia. Meanwhile, government has failed to act in areas where businesses most need additional support, notably funding.
As such government needs to work towards a simple, clear and stable regulatory regime that will enable businesses to better plan ahead.
In addition, cutting back on government domestic borrowing is essential to relieve pressure on interest rates for local businesses, and providing tax incentives to minimise start-up costs for those setting out or seeking to grow their business, will help reduce the burden and get more projects off the ground.
Under the current taxation regime the continuation of an import dependent economy is likely, while hopes for diversification through the growth of sectors such as tourism risk falling by the wayside unless serious incentives are proposed. In the UPND our thinking is that the promotion of export, value-addition and labour intensive projects should be prioritised through fiscal incentives.
The value such projects will bring in terms of direct and indirect job creation and economic growth will be much greater than the initial value of these incentives.
In terms of labour, several respondents noted the need for practical, and not just theoretical, training of potential employees, which reinforces our continued commitment to supporting vocational training initiatives, apprenticeships and mentorship schemes.
As we work to develop and refine our 2016-2021 manifesto commitments we will continue to consult various individuals and organisations, knowing that everyone has some insight to share and that working together we can deliver economic transformation and move Zambia forward.