Blantyre City Council (BCC) has asked business owners to request inspection and renewal of their businesses or risk losing their licences if they fail to do so at the beginning of July.
Business operations in Malawi are governed by 2012 Business Licensing Act which stipulates that every business entity must have a licence to operate in the country.
Speaking at a news conference last week in Blantyre, BCC director of commerce and industry Dennis Chinseu said the city council expects every business to renew its licence by July 1.
He said the city council has in the past years been closing business premises for operating without a licence, but the council had to revise the approach due to the outcries from business owners.
Said Chinseu: “As the law states, business licences are supposed to be renewed at the end of every financial year. It is, therefore, against this background that we implore all business owners to contact the council in readiness for issuance of licence for 2016/17 financial year.
“We want to encourage the business community to take advantage of this open window to ensure that their businesses are regulated.”
He assured the business community that licences will be issued within 72 hours from the date of inspection.
Chinseu said business licensing activities are done frequently to check illegal businesses and trading, compliance with various legal provisions and hygiene and safety issues.
The 2015 World Bank Doing Business Survey revealed that Malawi has made starting a business easier by streamlining company name search and registration and eliminating the requirement for inspection of company premises before a business licence is issued.
Government is also actively sensitising the public and private sector on the new developments to address the ease of doing business in the country.
The developments, which include the personal property registry and the online business registration systems, are currently operational, but only applicable to foreign-owned businesses. n