Newsletter

SINAZONGWE TOWN COUNCIL COMPLETES RIA

The Sinazongwe Town Council has submitted its Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) report and Stakeholder consultation report on the introduction of a Coal Levy by-law to the Business Regulatory Review Agency for consideration.

The completion of the RIA follows the Council’s notification to BRRA of its intention to introduce a coal levy aimed at helping the Local Authority collect revenue to address some adverse effects of coal mining in Sinazongwe District.

Sinazongwe Town Council Secretary Choolwe Maunga said the RIA and proposed By-Law were subjected to consultations with the public and various stakeholders in three (03) communities namely Maamba, Sinazeze and Sinazongwe through physical public meetings, phone-in radio programmes and focus group meetings with mining companies.

Ms. Maunga said the proposal to introduce the Coal Levy at K49.00 per ton on all coal mining ventures in the District was welcomed by all stakeholders as it was considered as one option of alleviating the environmental, infrastructural and social matters affecting the district as a result of coal mining.

The Council Secretary has thanked the BRRA for the invariable technical support which enabled the council to successfully perform the RIA and Stakeholder Consultations. She has also thanked the people of Sinazongwe for attending the stakeholder engagement meetings in numbers and making their submissions which helped to shape the RIA.

In receiving the Regulatory Impact Assessment and Stakeholder Consultation reports, BRRA Executive Director Sharon Sichilongo commended Sinazongwe Council for subjecting the proposed Coal Levy to the RIA process and stakeholder consultations.

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BRRA COMPLIES WITH PFMA ACT ON RISK MANAGEMENT

In compliance with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018, Management and staff at the Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) have been trained in Risk Management, Frameworks and Risk Registers.

The training conducted by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning follows the BRRA’s desire to comply with Government’s directive for the public sector to implement and integrate risk management systems in their key business processes.

During the training, BRRA Executive Director Sharon Sichilongo said the training will foster a deeper understanding of risk management among Management and Staff and demonstrates the Agency’s commitment to enhancing organizational effectiveness and resilience in the face of potential risks

“This understanding is essential for the agency’s growth and sustainability, as it enables the implementation of robust risk mitigation measures to safeguard against potential threats,” she said.

Ministry of Finance and National Planning Director of Risk Management Barabina Mporokoso emphasized the broader benefits of establishing risk management frameworks.

“These frameworks not only facilitate effective resource utilization but also improve compliance with regulations and enable proactive identification and management of unforeseen risks,” Ms Mporokoso said.

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MAZABUKA MUNICIPAL COUNCIL ENGAGES BRRA ON REVISION OF LEVY

In compliance with the requirements of the Business Regulatory Act No. 3 of 2014, Mazabuka Municipal Council has officially notified the Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) of its intention to revise the cane levy.

According to Section 6 of the Business Regulatory Act, a public body that intends to introduce any policy or proposed law for regulating business activity shall among other requirements give notice, in writing, of that intention to the Business Regulatory Review Agency.

In a communique to the Agency, Mazabuka Town Clerk Judith Maambo said the Municipality intended to revise the cane levy fees from the current 0.40 kwacha per ton for Zambia Sugar Company and 0.30 per ton for other cane producers per ton to thirty kwacha per ton for all categories of farmers.

Mrs. Maambo said the cane levy rates had not been reviewed for more than Ten (10) years from the time the fees were introduced via a by-law. She said the decision to revise the fees was approved in an ordinary Council Meeting.

The Town Clerk added that collecting levies enabled the Council to provide various services to the public in general, including sanitation facilities, good roads, and garbage collection.

During the engagement with Mazabuka Municipal Council, BRRA Executive Director Sharon Sichilongo commended the Municipality for mobilizing officers from all departments of the Council to be sensitised on the importance of the RIA process.

Mrs. Sichilongo emphasized the need for the Council to adhere to the principles in the Business Regulatory Act and to the RIA Standards and Guidelines. She further called on all local authorities to comply with Section 26 of the Local Government Act No. 2 of 2019 which stipulates that a proposed by-law or council resolution introducing a licence, permit or certificate shall be subject to the licensing procedure and criteria under the Business Regulatory Act of 2014.

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BRRA WILL NOT RELENT IN ENFORCING MANDATE

The Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) has taken a firm stance on enforcing the guidelines outlined in the Business Regulatory Act No. 3 of 2014.

BRRA Executive Director Sharon Sichilongo has emphasized that Regulatory Agencies and Public Bodies must comply with the requirements of the Act, including undertaking Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) and engaging in stakeholder consultations before introducing new regulations or fees.

“The Agency will demand suspension of regulations, including levies or fees, that are introduced by regulatory agencies and public bodies without undertaking a RIA and consultations with stakeholders,” Mrs. Sichilongo said.

The Executive Director said Regulatory agencies and public bodies should be aware that the BR Act is complimentary to any law that they operate under and the Agency will continue to actively enforce the guidelines.

She emphasised that all regulators must prioritize transparency through stakeholder consultations and adhere to regulatory standards prescribed in the BR Act when introducing and implementing regulations.

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DID YOU KNOW CORNER

DID YOU KNOW THAT

Guidelines outlined under Section 6 of the Business Regulatory Act, No 3 of 2014 require all regulatory agencies and public bodies to undertake a Regulatory Impact Assessment and public consultations with stakeholders and submit a Regulatory Impact Assessment report and consultation report to the BRRA for consideration.

Contributors

Masiye Mwanza Mulenga – Public Relations Officer

Choolwe Maunga – Council Secretary, Sinazongwe Town Council

BUSINESSES ENCOURAGED TO UTILIZE NOTICE AND COMMENT PORTAL

The Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) has introduced an online Notice and Comment portal to facilitate prompt feedback from businesses, particularly the private sector, on regulatory issues.

Mrs Sharon Sichilongo, the Executive Director of the BRRA, highlighted the importance of the portal as a means to gather input and feedback from the public, with a particular emphasis on the private sector.

The Notice and Comment portal serves as a platform for businesses, including Business Associations, to report on regulatory frameworks that may be burdensome to them or have been introduced without following the due process outlined in the Business Regulatory Act No. 3 of 2014.

This initiative aims to ensure that the Agency remains vigilant to regulations impacting business activities and that proper procedures are followed in formulation of business regulations.

During a press briefing held on January 30, 2023, at Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, Mrs Sichilongo emphasized the agency’s commitment to timely reviewing feedback from the private sector and encouraged businesses to actively use the online portal to provide their input.

BRRA established the Notice and Comment portal to allow the private sector to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of regulations under various legislations.

BRRA CHALLENGES BUSINESS REGULATORS ON EXORBITANT FEES

The Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) has raised concerns on the exorbitant fees imposed on businesses by regulatory and public bodies.

According to Mr. Dominic Kapalu, the Chairperson of the BRRA’s Board, the Business Regulatory Act No. 3 of 2016 specifies that the fees charged for licences and other business regulations should be merely to defray administrative costs.

During a press briefing, Mr. Kapalu emphasized that if the primary goal of regulatory agencies and public bodies was to generate revenue, businesses may struggle to achieve growth as the high costs of obtaining licenses will hinder their ability to operate.

He highlighted the financial burden on business owners, stating that they are required to pay around Twenty Thousand Kwacha (ZMW20,000) just to operationalise a business. This, according to Mr. Kapalu, contributes to pushing people into poverty, as the initial cost of starting a business is excessively high.

Mr. Kapalu urged regulatory agencies to play a role in reducing the overall cost of doing business. He emphasised that validity periods for licenses and certificates should confirm with that provided in the Business Regulatory Act, that is for unlimited periods and 3 years respectively.

BRRA IMPLORES REGULATORS TO CONDUCT STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS.

The Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) has implored regulatory bodies and public bodies to undertake stakeholder consultations before introducing any regulations.

BRRA Director for Regulatory Affairs Mr. David Frank Banda said stakeholder consultation was an essential component of policy and law formulation that gives an opportunity for stakeholders to have an input on how the policy or law would affect their business.

Mr. Banda has since commended the Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) for conducting stakeholder consultations as part of the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the introduction of Regulations under the Environmental Management Amendment Act No. 8 of 2023.

He has since called on stakeholders to actively participate in the consultations as any policy or law which will be passed will directly affect their businesses.

Stakeholder consultations spearheaded by ZEMA started on 22nd January in Lusaka at Government Complex Conference Centre and will run for a period of not less than 30 days.

It is mandatory under the Business Regulatory Act, 2014 for public bodies and regulatory agencies to undertake stakeholder consultations for a period of not less than 30 days with proprietors of business enterprises who will be affected with the proposed regulatory framework as well as those that will benefit from it. Other Government institutions also need to be consulted to ensure that there are no duplicated functions and mandates.

AMENDMENTS NEEDED FOR SINGLE LICENSING SYSTEM TO WORK.

The Business Regulatory Review Agency (BRRA) is actively working towards implementing a single licensing system to address the challenges associated with various licenses that businesses are required to comply with.

The goal is to streamline and simplify the licensing process by consolidating multiple license requirements from different regulatory bodies within a sector or group of businesses under a single regulatory body.

BRRA Board Chairperson Dominic Kapalu emphasized that a Single Licensing System will enhance compliance with multiple license requirements, making it more efficient for businesses to navigate through regulatory processes.

The current system involves obtaining licenses from various legislations, leading to complexities and higher costs of doing business.

BRRA Executive Director Sharon Sichilongo said successful implementation of the single licencing system is hindered by existing legislations and that the cost of doing business will only decrease once these legislations are amended.

Mrs Sichilongo emphasized the importance of regulatory agencies responding and implementing recommended changes under various sectors.

To facilitate the implementation of the single licensing system, BRRA is actively engaging with regulatory agencies and public bodies responsible for overseeing the licenses.

The focus is on expediting the amendment of identified regulations to enable the transition to a more streamlined and cost-effective licensing process.

Feasibility studies have also been conducted in the energy sector and the Daily and Edible Oils sub-sectors which justified the implementation of a single licensing system in these areas.

Overall, the BRRA’s initiative aims to create a more business-friendly environment by simplifying regulatory processes and reducing the administrative burden associated with obtaining multiple licenses from different regulatory bodies.

The success of this endeavour depends on legislative amendments, regulatory agency responsiveness, and the implementation of recommended changes.

Download PDF Issue No. 2 February 2024 Newsletter.