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Cabinet approves legislation on trade licenses, hotel amnesty, agriculture loan; to review Harvest Caye agreement

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Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2022. 3:30 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Cabinet has signified approval of the new Trade License Bill as well as legislation for a hotel amnesty program.

The proposed bill, according to a statement from the Executive, reflects the guiding principles of reform consistent with the Government’s agenda to create an enabling and investor-friendly business environment and to further empower village councils. (Presently, only municipal councils charge trade license fees, prompting some businesses to relocate to larger villages outside town limits.)

Hotels wishing to register for short-term rental properties will be subject to a process under the new legislation for the hotel amnesty program.

In other tourism news, approval was granted by Cabinet for the Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations to initiate a formal process of review of the current definitive agreement between the government and Belize Island Holdings Limited to improve and facilitate future growth and development of cruise tourism in Southern Belize. BIHL is the nominal entity operating the Harvest Caye cruise port off Placencia, in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines.

And finally, Cabinet gave its recommendation for the introduction of a US$25 million loan motion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to provide assistance to implement a Climate Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture Project to be undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise with the assistance of the Social Investment Fund. This project will provide funding support to an estimated 7,300 beneficiaries, including more than 4,300 farm households or more than 17,800 individuals.

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