13 MARCH 2002

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Trade licence process simplified

By Kurt Sansone

A consultation exercise that has been going on for the past three years will bear fruit by the end of April when the process for issuing trade licences will be delegated to 20 different authorities each adopting a one-stop shop concept.

Parliamentary Secretary Edwin Vassallo yesterday announced that the authorities or departments will be responsible for the issuing of licences that fall within their area of operation thus simplifying the process and cutting down on excessive bureaucracy.

Mr Vassallo explained that once the Planning Authority issues a permit for a fixed-premises business concern, businessmen would no longer have to apply for a trade licence at the police. Instead they would only have to go to the respective authority under which their business concern falls.

Mr Vassallo added that even when applying for change of use the process has been simplified. If the change of use falls within the parameters established by the Planning Authority, then the licensee would only have to submit a notification to the respective licence-issuing authority.

The bulk of licences will be issued by the Trade Licensing Unit, which forms part of the Commerce Division. This unit will be responsible for the trade licences of retail and wholesale outlets.

Given that the TLU will be handling the largest volume of trade licences a number of benchmarks have been set to ensure an efficient process. The unit is promising that within eight weeks applicants will be notified whether their application has been accepted or not.

Mr Vassallo added that the categories of business have been widened to avoid the anomalies that characterise the system currently in force. The categorisation of trade licences is also in line with the Nace Code used in the European Union.

Among the various authorities that will be responsible for trade licences, the Malta Tourism Authority would be responsible for the trade licences of hotels, bars, restaurants, diving schools and travel agencies among others. The Malta Maritime Authority will be responsible for issuing trade licences for passenger boats hiring of boats and jet skis and water sports among others. Schools would fall under the Ministry of Education and communication service providers would get their licence from the Malta Communications Authority.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt