Starting this month, persons who operate their businesses using expired trade and business licences will be subject to paying fines and, if they do not correct the situation within the prescribed timeframe, having their licences revoked under the Trade and Business Licensing Law (TBL).
This is in accordance with section 23 (2) of the law, which addresses persons operating with expired licences. Unless waived by the Trade and Business Licensing Board, a licensee who fails to pay the renewal fee within 28 days after the expiry date of the licence must pay a surcharge not exceeding 25 percent of their renewal fee. The surcharge increases every month or part of a month that the renewal fee is not paid, until the licence is eventually revoked.
The Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) has been notifying affected licensees of the potential fines and revocations since December 2016. Important dates for business owners to keep in mind are:
To operate legally in the future, business owners will have to pay all of the outstanding fees, including fines; and the fees associated with applying for an entirely new licence grant, rather than a renewal.
'These provisions are designed to encourage compliance with the TBL; ensure that businesses are properly regulated; and foster fair competition, on a level playing field. This serves the interests of the economy and consumers alike,' said Commerce Minister Wayne Panton.