Government can operate at a number of different levels - national, provincial or local. Central or national governments set the national framework (e.g. the Constitution) and direction (e.g. National Development Plan) for the country, but other levels of government undertake activities that also affect enterprise development. These may be provincial, state, regional, local, town or village governments, authorities or councils.
*See Assessment Tool 9 "Assessing the policy, legal and regulatory framework" for a breakdown of the different levels of government.
Local public officials are often the ones who implement decisions taken at regional or national levels. As such, they can make or break the success of an EO's efforts in practice. Thus, strengthening dialogue between central and local officials often is very important.
Is government centrally controlled with power of legalisation and regulatory oversight at the national level?, provincial?, local?
The level of government will greatly influence the EO's approach to advocacy. Strong local government would suggest a focus on developing the advocacy ability of regional branches of the EO.
The EO has identified taxation as a key constraint on enterprise creation from its national survey. Where should it focus its efforts?
The EO's analysis may have flagged the issue as widespread, but perhaps uncovered regional differences. It also identified specific taxes that are not centrally collected as being very time consuming and frequent. Some regions may have reported corrupt officials.
In this case the EO will need a national advocacy strategy on the issue – with regional differences as highlighted above.
The position may look something like this:
- Call for single tax payments
- Tax system harmonized to fewer periods in the calendar
- Codes of conduct for collectors, with more effective measures to eradicate corruption (e.g. more direct e-payments)
- Increased benchmarking across the entire tax authority (to raise standards to a certain minimum level)
The EO's approach will probably focus on the worst affected regions of the country as the 'examples' to illustrate the problem. The regional branches and sectoral associations will need to be equally mobilised for although much of taxation is collected centrally, provincial and regional levels have their own tax collection authorities. The overall approach should be to emphasize the potential of corrective action.
The "influence mapping tool" below can assist EOs in identifying the level of government it should focus its efforts on.
|STEP 1: ASSESSMENT SUMMARY|
|Who provides most practical administrative functions for business (e.g. licensing)?|
|At what level are the elected representatives that you could lobby?|
|Provision of information on enterprise development policies is done at what level?|
|Who has the direct regulatory role?|
|What is the extent of decentralization of decision-making?|
|To what extent do local layers of government have responsibility for implementing decisions taken at national level?|
|How effectively do layers of government work together?|