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SURINAME | Business Licenses

Legal provisions with respect to licenses are codified in the Decree Licenses Businesses and Professions (Decreet Vergunningen Bedrijven en Beroepen; the 'Decree') and the Decision Regarding Businesses and Professions with a Licensing Obligation (Besluit Vergunningplichtige Vergunningen en Bedrijven; the 'Decision'). The license entails prior written approval of the Minister of Economic Affairs (the 'Minister'). The latest adjustment of the Decision in 2011 is liberal and requires only licenses for contractors, shop owners, gold-silver smiths, architects, banks, exchange offices, insurance companies, engineering companies, shipping and air traffic companies, hotels, gas service stations, travel agencies, insecticide spraying agencies, beverage alcoholic-non/alcoholic manufacturers, manufacturers of beef cubes, cement, foodstuffs, insecticides, fertilizers, paints, steel-plastic boats, flower, medicines, fruit and fish products, fabrics, textile, pharmaceutics and sawmills to mention the most important.

Licenses can also be granted to a part of the activities of the businesses and professions or to certain branches.
 
In order to obtain a license the applicant must file a petition with the Minister of Economic Affairs. Filing of the petition by the applicant must be combined with payment of a mandatory fee which is set by the Minister in a Ministerial Order. The request for a license is published in the Advertisement Paper  of the Republic of Suriname within a week after receipt of the filed petition by the agency dealing with the application.
 
Any person or legal entity is authorized to submit in writing any objections against the requested license within a month after the date of the publication in the Advertisement Paper of the Republic of Suriname. 
 
A license shall only be granted if the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates creditworthiness. In a Ministerial order it can be determined that for  certain businesses and professions a license is granted on the strict condition that the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates commercial knowledge or craftsmanship.
 
The decision on whether or not the license shall be granted is made within six months after the month in which the objections against the requested license can be filed with the Minister. The decision is then directly communicated to the applicant and also published in the Advertisement Paper of the Republic of Suriname. The license, subject to the condition of valid objections, is granted for a certain location, business or profession for a period of three years. The license can be extended, for which extension the mandatory fee set by the Minister is due.

The license is strictly personal and third parties can not derive any rights from the license. However, the Minister can allow that the license is made out in to the name of a third party or that the business or profession is exercised in cooperation with third parties.
In the event of noncompliance of the conditions attached to the license or when no use is made of the license for a period of three straight years, the license can be withdrawn. A license is also withdrawn if the provided data is incorrect or insufficient to the extent that this would have resulted in a different decision, if the data provided would have been correct and sufficient. 

Decisions by the Minster of Economic Affairs can be subject for appeal by the President of the Republic, appeal to be filed at the Ministry of Domestic Affairs. If the conditions mentioned in the Decree Licenses Business and Professions are not complied with, the activities may be considered as criminal acts punishable by a fine and/or a prison sentence. 

Legislation
•    Decree Licenses Businesses and Professions (Decreet Vergunningen Bedrijven en Beroepen, Gazette 1981, no. 145); and
•    Decision regarding Businesses and Professions with a Licensing Obligation (Besluit Vergunningplichtige Vergunningen en Bedrijven, Gazette 2011, no. 64)