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Jun 4, 2015

CARILED Introduces Ease of Business in Belize City

Marilyn Ordonez

The Belize City Council today held a press conference at City Hall today to basically give a report card on where the country currently stands in respect of CARILED funded six-year program to promote local economic development. It is really about changing the way that local government works with the business community. It’s been three years since Belize adopted the program and in Belmopan and the City, local CARILED offices have been created to implement five models that were recommended after months of consultations between private and public sector partners. The proposed actions to “Improve the Ease of Doing Business” in municipalities that was announced today was not without its challenges.

 

Marilyn Ordonez, Director, Local Economic Development Unit, City Council

“Some of the main issues coming out of the discussion and this comes from not only the Belize City Council management staff, but also private sector who participated in the discussion was the cost of doing trade license, the cost of doing business, as the mayor has mentioned…that starting a business, the first thing you have to pay is a trade license. You cannot operate without a trade license. If you start to operate without a trade license, the Belize City Council might just come and close you down so that aspect is very important especially for micro, small and medium-sized businesses. So that was one of the main issues coming out…how can we reduce the cost of the trade license to small businesses, especially. The basis for the assessment of the trade license – the rate of trade license is twenty-five percent that everybody knows. But how do we get the base to assess that trade license at the twenty-five percent? And many of the participants stated that the basis is arbitrary because we use the rental value. The law says, it is either the rent or the rental value and if we truly apply the rental value across the board, some businesses may very well close down. And we have Mister Troy Smith, who is our evaluation manager; he tries to use most of the methods that are practiced within the Caribbean to try and bring that base to a more realistic value. But people still say it is too expensive. With the Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Belize, the councils are looking at how we can come up with a base that is fixed; that is simplified; it is something that is predictable…that every year you know exactly how much you would pay.”

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