CHAPTER 46:01
BUSINESSES LICENSING

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
ADMINISTRATION

   3.   Responsibilities of the Minister

   4.   Functions of the Chief Business Licensing Officer

   5.   Main Registry of Business Licences

   6.   Reports and financial statements

PART III
BUSINESS LICENSING CENTRES

   7.   Establishment of Business Licensing Centres

   8.   Functions of Business Licensing Centres

   9.   Appointment and functions of Business Licensing Officers

   10.   Registry of Business Licences

   11.   Correction of errors in registers

PART IV
LICENSING OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

   12.   Regulated and unregulated business

   13.   Exemptions

   14.   Application for issuing or renewal of a Business Licence

   15.   Particulars of an application

   16.   Grounds for refusal to issue or renew Business Licence

   17.   Validity of a Business Licence

   18.   Annual return

   19.   Extent of authority of a Business Licence

   20.   Premises to have a conspicuous sign

   21.   Exhibition of Business Licences

   22.   Local Authority not to issue a Business Licence, permit or other authorization

PART V
SUSPENSION, REVOCATION AND CANCELLATION OF BUSINESS LICENCE

   23.   Amendment, cancellation, revocation or suspension of a Business Licence

   24.   Notification of intention to amend, cancel, revoke or suspend a Business Licence

   25.   Right to be heard

   26.   Appeals

PART VI
OBLIGATIONS OF AN OWNER, MANAGER OR PERSON IN CHARGE OF A BUSINESS

   27.   Notification to the Business Licensing Officer

   28.   Replacement of a lost or destroyed Business Licence

PART VII
TRANSFER OF BUSINESS LICENCES

   29.   Transfer of a Business Licence

PART VIII
BUSINESSES BY NON-MALAWIANS

   30.   Businesses by non-Malawians

PART IX
APPOINTMENT AND POWERS OF INSPECTORS

   31.   Appointment of inspectors

   32.   Powers of inspectors

PART X
OFFENCES

   33.   Offences

   34.   Compounding offences

   35.   Failure to surrender a Business Licence

PART XI
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

   36.   Reserved Businesses

   37.   Regulations

   38.   Immunity

   39.   Repeal and savings

   40.   Transitional provisions

27 of 2012
G.N. 10/2013

An Act to provide for licensing of the sale of goods and services by way of business; to provide for establishment of Business Licensing Centres; and to make provision for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

[27TH MAY 2013]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Businesses Licensing Act.

2.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "auxiliary business" means any business not specified in a business registration which may be lawfully carried on under such registration;

   "business" means any form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship or specified profession carried on for profit and to which this Act applies;

   "Business Licence" means a licence issued under section 16;

   "Business Licensing Centre" means an organ of a Local Authority responsible for administration of this Act in a Local Government area, established under section 7 or a public agency appointed under this Act;

   "Business Licensing Officer" means an officer appointed under section 9;

   "Chief Business Licensing Officer" means a public officer designated as such under section 4 (1);

   "company" means a company incorporated under the Companies Act;

   "core activity" means the main activity of a business;

   "inspector" means a person appointed by the Minister under section 31 and includes an officer in the Ministry;

   "Local Authority" means a City, Town, District or Municipal Council established under the Local Government Act;

   "Malawi Investment and Trade Centre" means the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre incorporated under the Companies Act on 2nd December 2010;

   "publication" means publication of information relating to Business Licensing Centres in electronic form or through printed material to all Ministries and to the general public;

   "regulated business" means a business regulated by any written law; and

   "the Ministry" means the Ministry responsible for trade.

PART II
ADMINISTRATION

3.   Responsibilities of the Minister

   (1) The Minister shall be responsible for—

   (a)   formulating a national policy and regulatory framework in relation to the business licensing system;

   (b)   providing the necessary technical support or assistance to local authorities for the implementation of their respective functions; and

   (c)   doing such other things as are incidental or necessary to reducing the cost of doing business in Malawi.

   (2) The Minister, in consultation with the Minister responsible for Local Government, may, by notice published in the Gazette, revoke the authority of any Local Authority as a Business Licensing Centre and designate another Local Authority or a public agency in its place.

4.   Functions of the Chief Business Licensing Officer

   (1) The Principal Secretary responsible for trade is hereby designated as the Chief Business Licensing Officer.

   (2) The functions and powers of the Chief Business Licensing Officer shall be to—

   (a)   coordinate and monitor the performance of Business Licensing Centres for compliance with national policies, guidelines and standards;

   (b)   receive quarterly updated registers of licensed businesses from each Business Licensing Centre;

   (c)   establish and maintain in the Ministry one composite register of all businesses licensed under this Act;

   (d)   publish the composite registers of all Business Licensing Centres within three months after the end of each quarter;

   (e)   ensure that each Business Licensing Centre maintains minimum acceptable standards of licensing in its jurisdiction;

   (f)   act as a licensing authority for any local government area if the Minister exercises his powers under section 3 (2) until another Local Authority or public agency is designated in its place;

   (g)   supervise and issue general or special instructions to Business Licensing Officers in exercise of their functions under this Act;

   (h)   cooperate with the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre in carrying out its functions under the Investment and Export Promotion Act;

   (i)   do all such acts and things as are necessary, incidental or conducive to the better carrying out of his functions under this Act.

5.   Main registry of Business Licences

   (1) There is hereby established within the Ministry, a main registry which shall consist of the registries of all of the Business Licensing Centres.

   (2) The Chief Business Licensing Officer shall ensure that the main registry is kept and maintained using modern technology and skills and in accordance with prevailing international best practices.

6.   Reports and financial statements

   (1) The Chief Business Licensing Officer shall, as soon as practicable, but not later than three months after the expiry of each financial year, submit to the Minister a report concerning his activities during that financial year.

   (2) The report referred to in subsection (1) shall be in such form as the Minister shall approve, and shall include such information as the Minister may direct or as the Chief Business Licensing Officer may consider appropriate.

   (3) The Minister shall, during the next National Assembly meeting, lay the report referred to in subsection (1) before the National Assembly, and the Chief Business Licensing Officer shall thereafter publish the report for sale to the public.

PART III
BUSINESS LICENSING CENTRES

7.   Establishment of Business Licensing Centres

   (1) There shall be established in each Local Authority, a Business Licensing Centre which shall be an organ of the Local Authority.

   (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Minister may, in consultation with the Minister responsible for Local Government, constitute any other public agency as a Business Licensing Centre for one or more Local Government areas.

8.   Functions of Business Licensing Centres

   The functions of a Business Licensing Centre shall be to—

   (a)   collect business information in the area of its jurisdiction for the purpose of public consumption;

   (b)   ensure that all the business information collected is available for the purpose of keeping public records;

   (c)   inform the Ministry and the Ministry responsible for local government of businesses licensed in the area under its jurisdiction;

   (d)   provide information and guidance to members of the public on the manner in, and the extent to which, businesses are to comply with legislation applicable to them; and

   (e)   provide a registry of information on all businesses operating within the area of its jurisdiction and ensure accessibility of such information to all branches and agencies of the Government and to all businesses.

9.   Appointment and functions of Business Licensing Officers

   (1) The Minister shall, after consultation with the Minister responsible for Local Government, appoint any public officer as a Business Licensing Officer in respect of one or more local authorities.

   (2) The Minister may appoint any public officer as a Business Licensing Officer in respect of any public agency designated as a Business Licensing Centre.

   (3) The functions and powers of a Business Licensing Officer shall be to—

   (a)   license all businesses in the area of his jurisdiction;

   (b)   establish a register to be managed and maintained by the Business Licensing Centre;

   (c)   submit to the Chief Business Licensing Officer quarterly reports within one month after the end of each quarter;

   (d)   publish the current register of all businesses licensed in the area of his jurisdiction;

   (e)   cancel, revoke or amend any Business Licence as provided for under this Act;

   (f)   collect fees payable under this Act;

   (g)   cooperate with the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre in carrying out its functions under the Investment and Export Promotion Act;

   (h)   advise, free of charge, investors and members of the general public on any aspect of business licensing; and

   (i)   do all such acts and things as are necessary, incidental or conducive to the better carrying of his functions under this Act.

10.   Registry of Business Licences

   (1) Every Business Licensing Officer shall establish a registry to be managed and maintained by the Business Licensing Centre under his authority.

   (2) The Minister shall ensure that every registry established under subsection (1) is kept and maintained using modern technology and skills and in accordance with prevailing international best practices.

11.   Correction of errors in registers

   The following provisions shall apply to errors in any register managed and maintained under this Act—

   (a)   no alteration in any register shall be made except as authorised by this Act;

   (b)   any clerical error which may from time to time be discovered in any register, may be corrected by any person authorised by the Business Licensing Officer; and

   (c)   any error of fact or substance in any such register may be corrected by the Business Licensing Officer making an additional entry in the register without any alteration of the original entry, upon payment of the prescribed fee and upon production to him by the person requiring the error to be corrected, a statutory declaration setting forth the nature of the error and the true facts of the case, made by two credible persons having knowledge of the truth of the case.

PART IV
LICENSING OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

12.   Regulated and unregulated businesses

   (1) Subject to this Act, no person shall conduct a regulated or unregulated business in Malawi without obtaining a Business Licence, or otherwise than in accordance with the Business Licence.

   (2) The owner, manager or person in charge of a regulated business who wishes to have his business licensed under this Act shall—

   (a)   produce to the Business Licensing Officer evidence of compliance with the relevant regulatory statute; and

   (b)   produce to the Business Licensing Officer a certificate issued under the Business Registration Act,

   before a Business Licence is issued under this Act.

   (3) Subject to section 16, any business which is not regulated by any written law shall, upon application and payment of the prescribed fee, be issued with a Business Licence.

   (4) A Business Licence shall authorise the holder thereof to carry on business at premises, stated in the Business Licence, issued to him in relation to the business.

13.   Exemptions

   (1) No Business Licence under this Act shall be required by—

   (a)   any person specially appointed to conduct a sale of any goods in execution of any order of any court;

   (b)   a sheriff or his deputy selling in execution of his lawful duty;

   (c)   any person selling any goods solely as a necessary incident to the provision of any professional or other personal services;

   (d)   the owner or operator of any aircraft, ship, or railway coach in respect of sales made on board to passengers travelling thereon;

   (e)   any religious organization selling only religious literature;

   (f)   any person selling goods for charitable purposes only;

   (g)   any person selling goods to any member of any naval, military or police service in any canteen, institute or mess recognised as such by the Ministry:

   Provided that this paragraph shall not apply to any person who is not a member of the force and who conducts the canteen for profit;

   (h)   any person who sells goods or carries on business in a market established under any Act;

   (i)   any person who sells goods by way of business, or carrying on any business from temporary premises, at a show or exhibition; or

   (j)   any person who sells otherwise by retail goods manufactured, grown or produced in Malawi by him.

   (2) The Minister may, from time to time, by notice published in the Gazette, exempt from all or any of the provisions of this Act generally or in any area and subject to conditions that he may find fit, any person who sells goods by way of business or carries on a business, for which a licence is required under this Act, in circumstances that make it desirable in the public interest that the exemption be granted.

14.   Application for issuing or renewal of a Business Licence

   (1) Any person who wishes to operate a business shall make an application for a Business Licence to the Business Licensing Centre in the Local Authority where the business is located or any public agency appointed as a Business Licensing Centre.

   (2) Every application for issue, or renewal, of a Business Licence under this section shall be in a form and signed in a manner as may be prescribed by the Minister.

   (3) For avoidance of doubt, application for issue or renewal of a Business Licence under this section may be made through a representative.

15.   Particulars of an application

   (1) Every application for a Business Licence under this Act shall contain the following—

   (a)   the name of the business and an indication of whether the owner is a firm, a corporate entity or a natural person;

   (b)   the proposed date of commencement of the business;

   (c)   the name, physical and postal addresses of the owner of the business and, if the owner is an individual, his age;

   (d)   where the owner is a firm, the partners thereof;

   (e)   nationality of the owner;

   (f)   where the owner is a corporate entity, the registration number and date of registration of the company;

   (g)   certificate of the issued business under the Business Registration Act;

   (h)   in the case of a subsidiary business, the name and location of its head office;

   (i)   the nature of the core activity of the business;

   (j)   the nature of any auxiliary business;

   (k)   the number of employees in the business;

   (l)   the physical address, where applicable, postal address and telephone numbers of the business;

   (m)   the telefax number, e-mail and website address of the business, if any;

   (n)   the name of the chief executive officer or any other person in charge of the management of the business; and

   (o)   the extent to which, if any, that the business has been granted an applicable certificate of compliance or authorization to trade or operate under section 12 (2).

   (2) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, vary, amend or revoke the requirements set out in subsection (1).

16.   Grounds for refusal to issue or renew Business Licence

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