Govt must improve private sector engagement – FSE&CC
Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) Chief Executive Officer Bonisiwe Ntando, says although government involves the private sector when adopting policies, for now the engagement remains superficial.
Ntando was responding to the issues raised during the ongoing second annual Southern African Business Forum (SABF) Conference. One of the issues was that governments should engage and consult with the private sector when drafting or adopting polices.
“I think there is more that we can do in terms of the consultations, because in most cases we find there are already policies in place which we were never consulted during their drafting. So maybe now it is a start of good things to come. I am hopeful, because we need to influence these policies as they are done to be used by the private sector,” she said.
She said for Swaziland specifically, the consultations were not that effective.
“We have just set up a trade facilitation committee, whereby private sector participates in, but, it is a new committee and you can imagine how old SADC is, why was the private sector not involved all along? However, we hope that now as we have started on this new path, the consultations will be sustained.”
Ntando said participating in the conference came with many benefits as the region was developing at a very fast pace, “what we need to address though as the country is we take time to utilise the availed opportunities. As you can see, some of the decision and declarations were made some years back and by now we should have reaped the benefits that came with them. But, we are very slow to implement, we need to jump at such opportunities.”
She said the private sector, in most instances, they hardly have access to the policies, sometimes it is even hard to know there were new policies because the private sector in most cases did not form part of the delegations, “its government most of the time and by the time they come back, no one would come to present these issues to us, unless we get a high level statement. That is not enough; we need to do more than just that.”
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade Principal Secretary Jinnoh Nkambule said private sector engagement was one of the areas that needed to be strengthened.
“We have a committee, the national trade facilitation, where we meet with the revenue authority, private sector, and relevant government departments. We are collectively working to ensure that doing business becomes easy in Swaziland. If there are challenges, especially on the movement of goods, we work collectively to find amicable solutions,” he said.
Nkambule said government prioritised private sector engagement and would continue to broaden its scope for the benefit of this sector.