COMESA urges private sector inclusion

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Business Council (CBC) says policy-making processes without private sector consultation can result in measures that choke business development and growth.
COMESA business council board director Rosetta Chabala said measures such as high taxation and repetitive business processes stifle the ability of the private sector to flourish, to contribute to investment and to also propel public-private partnership (PPP) development in a manner that fosters economic growth.
The council advises that before instituting any regulation or policy, the public and private sectors should dialogue to determine the regulatory impact of the measure to all stakeholders and the impact on business competitiveness.
She said this also translates to the impact on consumer welfare, livelihood and economic growth.
Ms Chabala was speaking in Lusaka recently at the 2nd COMESA-Zambia Private Public Development meeting.
“The objective of this PPD is not only timely but imperative if we are to build the capacity of local businesses not only to trade in the region but also to thrive and contribute to the national economic growth agenda,” she said.
Ms Chabala also said it is of paramount importance that national policies inculcate strategies that explicitly deal with the development and promotion of local businesses and industries, adding that the public sector has a role in fostering an enabling environment for businesses and in the development of requisite infrastructure.
Ms Chabala said at the same time, it is apparent that businesses also have a role to play in investment and building business.
She also said increased private sector consultations and participation in the regulatory and policy frameworks and dialogue paves way for increased private sector investments in the economy.
Meanwhile, Ms Chabala said Zambia does not need to remain the leading importer in the region with an import value of US$2.0 billion.
She said through improvement in agriculture, manufacturing and service competitiveness, Zambia can actually have a trade balance when trading with partners in the region.

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