Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles has assured the business sector that there will be no new fees during the ongoing health and economic crisis currently plaguing the territory and world.
“What I will say about the fees as I have said in all the other stakeholder consultations as well as the public consultations, while there are fees on the books and some of those fees are now different to what they are right now, we have no intention of raising the fees at this time. For us, it does not make sense to put additional pressure on businesses until we are back to some sense of normalcy within our economy and within the world,” she said on Thursday during the Honestly Speaking radio programme.
The Minister further shared the fees that will eventually come on stream with the implementation of the Trade Commission would be less than what other businesses would be paying in the region.
“We have done extensive research, and we are much lower than our counterparts within the Caribbean region; that’s where we did most of the research, but I want to assure the public that we have no intention of raising any fees at this particular point and time,” Hon.
Meanwhile, Government’s Policy Analyst Lizette George added that presently, the fees are set to belongers and non-belongers; however that will change.
“The new fees that are identified in the Act they are base fees, and they are some of the professional areas where the fees will depend on the size of the business. So say, for instance, a law firm that may have one to five lawyers may have a lesser fee than the law firm that would have about 10 to 20 lawyers. Say, for instance, a restaurant that would have a certain number of sittings would have a lower fee structure than a larger restaurant with more sittings. But those things will be developed in our specific standards for licensing which are not yet dealt down; those would be in regulations,” she said.
The Trade Commission would be replacing the existing Trade Department.