Financial Times

CMC to issue trade licences in 25 days

By Dilshani Samaraweera

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) says it can now issue trade licences within 25 days. Existing businesses can now renew their trade licences for 2009 and new businesses can apply for licences, under the new ‘25-day’ system.

“The licence application can be collected from the Municipal Treasurer and should be returned to the Municipal Treasurer with the required information. The application will only be accepted if all the relevant documents are provided. If there are any shortcomings, the applicant will be informed immediately. So the applicant will not have to waste time later,” explained Dr S. D. Eleperuma, chief municipal veterinary surgeon.

The cost of a trade licence can range from Rs 200 to about Rs 5,000 and must be renewed every year. The CMC issues about 3,600 licences annually under 148 different business categories, but the process previously could take as long as six months. The new simplified licensing process is expected to reduce delays and ensure faster processing of applications.

“If all the documents are in order at the time of handing over the application, we can issue the licence in 25 days or even faster,” said Dr Eleperuma. The CMC says it will take legal action against businesses that continue to operate without licences. According to CMC estimates Colombo has around 35,000 business establishments but only about 10% have obtained the required trade licences from the CMC. A handbook explaining the application process for trade licences is available for Rs 100 at the CMC.

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