Trade licence compliance in the parish of Clarendon has increased eight-fold in dollar amount this financial year when compared to collections in 2013/2014.
As municipal corporations (formerly parish councils) are forced to earn their keep, the Clarendon Municipal Corporation has successfully tapped into the revenue source which has outperformed even its most ambitious targets.
Since its establishment in June 2016 the Municipal Corporation’s Trade Licence Unit has met or surpassed its budgeted yearly target and has achieved 140% of the target for the 2016/2017 financial year registering over sixteen million dollars in collections.
Peter Hewitt, the Senior Compliance Officer and team leader, credits the Unit’s success to the good relationship it has forged with local traders in just one year.
“We take a three pronged approach. First of all we visit the businesses, provide them with information, public education, and then each time we visit we remind them of the different aspects of the law and where they fall. We also do a lot of reminders through whether statements, general reminders or municipal notification and we work in tandem with TAJ so we have a coordinated approach,” Hewitt explains.
Hewitt works as part of a special project team dedicated to encouraging business operators in the parish to pay for and acquire their trade licence, a permit required in law by all persons trading in consumable goods.
Hewitt admits that a number of the traders resisted initially but with time and the team maintaining its enforcement and public sensitization activities, more business persons now appreciate the need to become compliant and legitimise their business operations.
May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh says the unit is as an asset to the organisation explaining that the added revenue it brings in has allowed the Municipal Corporation to finance some of its major expenditure items.
“It has added more to our coffers and allowed us to bridge the gap as it’s one of our own source revenue,” he pointed out.
The Unit’s next big target is to have the over two thousand registered traders in the parish paying for and acquiring their trade licence.
Among the types of business required to have a trade licence are wholesalers, retailers, haberdasheries, hardware stores, small community shops, and restaurants.