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GOB Tables an Updated Version of the Trade License Act

The government is looking to grow the list of persons required to obtain a trade license to conduct business. The Briceno Administration is looking to repeal the Trade License Act and replace it with an updated version. And the bill comes with noteworthy updates. For instance, if you are a disc jockey, a peddler, an entertainer or someone who uses the internet to buy and sell goods then under this new bill you will be required to obtain a trade license which may cost you up to five hundred dollars per day in some categories as is the case for international performers. Minister of Labor Oscar Requena introduced the bill and explained to Love News that the regulations are necessary to protect the integrity of businesses.

Oscar Requena, Minister of Rural Development:What we are looking at is that currently as it is trade licenses is only paid by the municipalities but the bill seeks to incorporate the rural areas also to be able to be a part of this new trade licensing regime. And the reason for that is that for too long, the rural areas has not really had the ability to be able to regulate the conduct of business and we believe that it is very, very important that the conduct of this business be regulated for the benefit of the stakeholders. The bill seeks to, for example, to make the ease of business easier. It’s very, very important, you know, with the new regime, people will be able to apply online, fill out their applications. So that certainly will ease the process of doing business in Belize. It’s also very important to state that there’s going to be a level of predictability. You know, because what happens is that there’s going to be a schedule of fees that are going to be used whether it is for the municipalities or whether it is for the village and it is going to be over at year period.” 

The bill encompasses many stakeholders such as peddlers, entertainers and e-commerce operators. Requena says that it is important to highlight that there are specifications for businesses before they are considered to be required to pay a trade license.

Oscar Requena, Minister of Rural Development: “Certainly a we said is what happens that currently right now you have a lot of people who conduct businesses who are not really regulated. So what the bill seeks to do is really to regulate the whole process of how business is conducted in the municipalities, whether it be in an urban or rural setting. I think it is important to clarify also because one of the concerns that we’re hearing is that people are concerned particularly with regards to the rural area you know whether you know the small little mom and pops businesses are going to be paying a trade license and that is absolutely not so.” 

Requena stated that the trade license act is slated to come into effect in 2023.