Inaugural chair of the BRICS Business Council, Patrice Motsepe, has called for the fast-tracking the visa process for BRICS countries.
Speaking at the BRICS Summit held in Sandton, Motsepe said business people who want to do business in these countries should be given preferential treatment.
‘’We understand that there are legitimate concerns about making sure that governments maintain the sovereign control of who comes in and who comes out.
‘’We don't just agree with that, we support it as well, but as these are some of the low-hanging fruit, we can immediately give preferential access to businessmen from China, India, Brazil, and from Russia, give them visas that allow them to come in and look at opportunities in South Africa, and on the continent,’’ he said.
Motsepe said what was required was an extreme sense of urgency to translate that commitment into effective, pragmatic policy implementation.
‘’Politicians have all sorts of pressures and demands and expectations, but they must find how can we eliminate or reduce that problem. If I'm a South African businessman and I want to go and open a business in India, what are the hurdles and the impediments?
‘’Part of the purpose of the Business Council is to identify those impediments and, with a sense of urgency, eliminate and remove them. As we remove the impediments, one of the biggest opportunities has to be market access,’’ he said.
Motsepe said once someone sees a market, it's an opportunity, and until the investment is made, sometimes it might take five or seven years before a value is realised.
‘’This is in this instance, where the partnerships with the governments with the heads of state with the ministers is critically important because a lot of our investments are long term and the appropriate policy, legislative, economic texts, in some cases, even judicial dispensation.
‘’I have no doubt that there the opportunities in terms of what we can do. The magnitude of how we can grow trade investment, and business ties between South Africa, the African continent, and the BRICS countries, the potential is enormous,’’ Motsepe said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said yesterday that it was too early for BRICS member nations to be ready to use an alternative payment system to the SWIFT international payment system in a bid to lessen their reliance on the dollar.
Godongwana said the payment system had not been sufficiently canvassed as part of the meetings of finance ministers.
“It doesn’t mean that we, as SA, can’t participate in SWIFT or any other payment system. There are some discussions within the central bank stream about a payment system. It’s about how do we create a payment system among ourselves that is suitable to our needs,’’ he said.