City to Register All Businesses

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Windhoek City Council has announced that all business owners are required to register their undertakings under a new regulation with effect from August 15, 2006. Manager for Corporate Communications and Tourism at the City Council Ndangi Katoma yesterday said in the past, the metropolis only registered businesses under the health regulations. Following the promulgation of the new regulations under the Local Authorities Act of 1992, all businesses operating within the jurisdiction of Windhoek are expected to obtain certificates of registration for their businesses. Businesses in this sense refer to any profession, occupation, trade, service, office, home occupation, activity or any undertaking conducted for gain, he explained. Shebeens are also covered by the new regulations. Those who might have more than one business are expected to register each business as an independent entity. The registration certificate will be renewed on a yearly basis. The fees for this new exercise are yet to be determined by the council. Presently, applicable fees range from N$148 for non-food business to N$442.75 for businesses selling food and other consumables. “It should be emphasised that it is legally compulsory for all businesses to register,” he stressed. An information campaign will soon be launched and is expected to last till December, and during this period, business owners are expected to register their businesses. Those who might not have complied with the new requirements by end of the year will face the consequences, Katoma warned. While various businesses are conducted from premises which include land, site, building or structure, according to Katoma, business premises should not be in conflict with any laws relating to public health, safety or with the Town Planning Scheme. The registration certificate can be issued on the same day for office related work, while it might take three to five days for all factories related businesses, kindergartens, hair salons, bars/clubs, mechanical trade and formal food preparation premises due to prior inspection involved. “A person who contravenes any provision of these regulations commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding N$2 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” Katoma said. Business owners are expected to be in possession of an ID card, plot number, address and proof of citizenship or work permit when registering. Following numerous enquiries and complaints received by the City of Windhoek in relation to people living in Sectional Title Scheme, Katoma explained that “living in a sectional title scheme means community living … as such when it comes to payment responsibilities towards the City of Windhoek, the costs incurred in running a sectional title scheme have to be paid by the body corporate”. These costs, he added, include rates, taxes, insurance premiums, repairs and maintenance of common property, wages and salaries of cleaners, water and electricity bills. One of the questions frequently asked involves what happens if the sectional title owners fail to pay the levies. He says the body corporate can take legal action to recover its levies and is entitled to charge interest on arrears for owners who fail to pay their levy while continuing to enjoy the benefits of living under a Sectional Title Scheme.