The government has decided to extend the deadline for renewal of trade licences till December 31 as part of its process to resolve disputes between businesses and city corporation authorities on the steep rise in renewal fees.
The proposal has already been sent to the Law Ministry for vetting, and a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) will be issued within a day or two with regard to the deadline extension and reduction in existing fee hikes, officials confirmed.
Although the deadline for trade licence renewal ended on September 30, the government earlier extended the period of time till November 30 after businesses, including leading chambers like Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, protested the government decision on the excessive fee hike.
On March 2, the Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Ministry issued a gazette, hiking trade licence fees by an average of 263%, setting off opposition from traders and leading business chambers.
According to the new rates, some traders have to pay six times the current amount to renew their trade licences. Business leaders have been protesting the hike, saying it would adversely affect entrepreneurship, particularly small and medium enterprises.
“The Local Government Division has again extended the deadline till December 31, considering the plea from businesses. In addition, the fee hike on trade licence will also see a reduction. The average fee hike will be maximum 80% whereas the sector-wise fee hike may be increased by different amounts, ranging from 60% to 100%,” Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity President SA Quader Kiron told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
He said the government had made the decision following recommendations from the seven-member committee consisting of three government officials and four business leaders and headed by an additional secretary to rationalise the hike.
“As the renewal rates did not see any rise since 2002, we will comply with the government decision if it rises up to a maximum tolerable range of 80%,” said Kiron, also a member of the committee.