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#MTBPS2016: SA moots long-term multiple entry visa to boost tourism


Government is considering introducing a new long-term multiple-entry visa to boost tourism.
National Treasury said on Wednesday this was done as part of efforts to accelerate immigration reforms which would in the long run also reduce the cost of doing business.
“Immigration reforms to speed visa processing and boost tourism are under consideration.
“These include a long-term multiple entry visa that would be available to frequent travellers, business people and academics, and visas on arrival for some categories of travellers,” said National Treasury as the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) was tabled in Parliament.
Since January, 10-year multiple-entry business visas have been available to visitors from Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The announcement by National Treasury was part of highlighting measures that are under consideration to strengthen the country’s policy certainty in immigration, mining and communications.
“Policy uncertainty in any economy undermines confidence, with consequences for investment and job creation. Accordingly, government is taking steps to strengthen policy certainty in several key areas.”
Drilling a better path for the mining industry
National Treasury said in the mining sector, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which was returned to Parliament due to procedural and substantive concerns, has been amended by the parliamentary portfolio committee.
Concerns related to a lack of legislative consultation are being addressed, National Treasury said. 
The Chamber of Mines and the Department of Mineral Resources are negotiating an out-of-court settlement on the “once empowered, always empowered” principle in the Mining Charter.
“The impact on the mining sector will depend on how and when these issues are resolved, removing uncertainty from the investment equation.
“Under the auspices of the Presidential Business Working Group, a single application system for all licenses, including environmental authorisations for mining, is under consideration,” National Treasury said.
Resolving ICT bottlenecks a priority
The Cabinet Lekgotla in August 2016 resolved to improve the coordination of the broadband spectrum allocation policy and rationalise state-owned companies in this area.
The information and communications technology white paper is currently out for public comment.
“Combined public and private investment to upgrade telecommunications infrastructure is expected to total R26 billion in 2016.
“Rapid resolution of the dispute between the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa and the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services on the auctioning of high-speed broadband spectrum will improve certainty in the sector. 
“Socio-economic impact assessment reports have begun to reduce legislative and regulatory duplication, and improve policy design.”
National Treasury said, meanwhile, that earlier this year, the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs proposed two overlapping bills dealing with marine affairs.
“The assessment process helped to ensure their combination into the Marine Spatial Planning Bill.” – SAnews.gov.za
Khabza Mkhize

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