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Aug 12, 2015

CARILED Project Looks at Reforming Trade License Regime

City Council has embarked on a project to reform and modernize the trade license regime with the view of making the taxes more equitable and less burdensome to businesses and professionals. Stakeholders gathered at the Radisson today for a workshop organized by CARILED and the City Council. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Trade licenses are mandatory prior to the launch of any commercial operations in Belize.  A business permit is required for each location where the trade will be conducted, irrespective of the type of business.  As such the trade licenses must be renewed each year.  This regime applies to companies partnerships and individual traders, including professionals.  Today, a group of stakeholders, under the auspices of the Caribbean Local Economic Development project, CARILED, gathered at the Radisson to look closely at the issue of trade license reform.

 

Leidi Urbina

Leidi Urbina, National Coordinator, CARILED

“We decide that we are going to support municipalities as they look at the trade license and what can be done in terms of looking at a fair and equitable trade license process in Belize. So today is a follow up to that. In general looking at ways that we can encourage small businesses to start up and looking at ways to facilitate the process. Another thing that was discussed really as a follow up to the ease of doing business consultations was a help desk. How can municipalities create an enabling environment, create a friendly environment where businesses and entrepreneurs can come for support? Come to the municipality; get the support they need, get guidance as to where to go for example for finances. Access to financing was also an issue that came up.”

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“Today, what we’re doing is that we had an international consultant come in, sponsored by CARILED and what they are doing is looking at the discussions and see where we are in relation to getting consensus—both the private sector partnership partner and the municipality in terms of moving forward.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, the last I discussed with you, you showed us that the plan was to decrease by fifty percent initially. Does the task force say that that is enough?”

 

Darrell Bradley

“Well one of the things that we’ve looked at is we think that that is an initial and very powerful first step, but in terms of wanting to promote the kind of business climate in Belize City it has to be much more comprehensive. We have to look at if we pay trade license at a reduce rate, twelve percent, what do you get in terms of value for that? Are we meeting our obligations in terms of infrastructure?”

 

Arturo Vasquez

Arturo Vasquez, President, BCCI

“The chamber started about two and a half years ago in collaborating with the Belize City Council, in looking at a better way to look at the trade license because, as I think everybody is aware of, it is not the best system in place, mainly because it is not equally balanced between businesses and it has a little bit of…what do you call it, the evaluator can decide whatever he thinks of the premises and of course, you can be right next to a business that is better than you are and pay a whole lot less. So it has to be looked at. Twenty-five percent on your annual rental value is absolutely not going to go.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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