By Julius N. Uma
May 14, 2012 (JUBA) - The Republic of South Sudan has established a One-Stop Shop Investment Centre (OSSIC) earmarked to facilitate quick and efficient processing of all the paperwork that investors need to start businesses in the world’s youngest country.
- Lars Thunell, IFC’s CEO cuts a tape to officially open the one-stop shop investment center in Juba, May 12, 2012 (ST)
Officially launched in Juba, the South Sudan capital on Friday, the facility will also serve as a customer care centre, where investors can come and seek assistance whenever they encounter difficulties.
The investment centre, which officials say, will reduce business registration from 15 to 7 days, directly falls within the country’s ministry of commerce, industry and investment under the supervision and management of the director general of the investor services directorate.
“The one stop shop brings regulatory agencies together in a user friendly and efficient process for the issuance of investment certificates, licenses and permits as well as providing customer care services,” the ministry said in a release, adding that the OSSIC aims to offer a sound and effective investment climate in an attempt to position South Sudan as a major investment location in Africa.
The unique investment facility, further says the ministry, will operate as a single point of contact for all business transactions in South Sudan whereby the investor will only have to be in contact with one single entity to obtain all the necessary paperwork in a streamlined and coordinated process.
The OSSIC, according to documents seen by Sudan Tribune, seeks to guide investors through a step by step procedure to successfully register and implement their projects.
As part of the project, interested investors will be able to benefit from pre-investment advice and counseling on processing applications for investment certificates and relevant permits.
- An artistic impression of the proposed Equatoria tower in Juba.
In a related development, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group is set to make its first investment in South Sudan by providing a financing package of $5m to support the development of a $16.9m commercial building in Juba.
The structure, dubbed The Equatoria tower, is a development of UAP Properties Limited (UAPL), a newly created South Sudan real estate company. UAPL is a joint venture company created between UAP Insurance South Sudan Limited with a shareholding of 70 percent, and Central Equatoria Investment Company (CEIC) with 30 percent.
If completed, The Equatoria Tower will reportedly be the first modern serviced building of any kind in South Sudan, offering reliable amenities like water, power, sewage disposal, three high speed elevators, ready to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) installations and air conditioning.
The commercial facility is being positioned as a platform for the development of quality business infrastructure in South Sudan by supporting UAP Group’s growth in Sub Saharan Africa, earmarked to create about 100 direct and indirect jobs.
Since it attained independence in July last year, South Sudan has with the support of the World Bank Group (IFC) put in place 19 laws, which directly impact on doing business in the country. Fully incorporated with international benchmarks, these set of laws reportedly establish a robust commercial legal environment that enhance business and investment opportunities in the country.