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Sep 18, 2013

Mayor Bradley addresses the issue of trade licenses

Darrell Bradley

We reported on Tuesday night that the Belize Chamber of Commerce has written to the Minister of Labor, Godwin Hulse, who is also previous senator for the private sector, to intervene on the issue of trade licenses. This follows a publication on trade assessments for the upcoming year to be conducted by City Hall. The Chamber says it would prefer to see a more equitable tax system and is proposing a flat rate for taxes.  We asked the Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley, this morning about the BCCI proposal, he said it is a plan he can live with.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“I had indicated previously that when we look at trade licensing, it has to be a comprehensive look. There has to be a balance which is fair. I said also that the trade license rate is too high. It is twenty-five percent of your annual rental value. That means that every business needs to pay three months rent and it is based on square footage. So that you may have a warehouse that sells nothing; you still have to pay a very high trade license whereas I operate a law business; I have a small office and I do a large volume of work so I pay a small trade license. From we have taken office, we have said that this is a problem and we are willing to sit down and look at that. But the city council does not have the power to change any law in this country. We are the implementers of law; so that the trade license exists in a certain way. What we have done to promote legislative reform is to do a categorization system because I think above the amount of trade license that businesses pay, one of their major concerns is the certainty of it. They really would not mind if they pay a rate, but they want to know that that rate is fixed so they can plan and I respect that. And we have a categorization that we developed through our auditing process that has three hundred categories of businesses. And we have suggested that we are prepared to have fixed or flat rates like what’s obtained in other municipalities so that you will know what your trade license is going into the next year and the following year and we could keep these rates every four years or five years and then we could agree that every four and five years there is an assessment and we could cap what the increase will be.”

 

Bradley says that he believes that the BCCI should take a leadership role in the negotiation process to modifying the legislation governing trade licensing fees. 

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