115 companies suspected of clashing with Phuentsholing cancel licenses
Rajesh rai | Phuentsholing
Since January 2020 to date, 115 companies suspected of clashing with Phuentsholing have voluntarily canceled their licenses. Of these, 60 were business licenses and 55 were for services such as bars, restaurants and workshops.
A regional trade official from Phuentsholing said there were 274 (179 shops and 95 services) businesses suspected of fighting in the city, including 115.
Of the remaining 159 license holders suspected of fronting, the trade office said 124 had submitted declarations of non-involvement in fronting and 18 licenses had been canceled due to non-renewal or expiration of the fronting. validity in the licensing system.
In addition, 16 licenses were canceled after licensees failed to show up to update and explain to the trade office despite the notices sent, and one license was dropped due to inadequate information.
Regional director of commerce Sonam Dhendup said all of those 274 companies were marked as a “suspected front”.
“We called them and explained to them. We told them they knew better whether they were fronting or not, ”he said. “We gave them the opportunity. So 115 voluntarily canceled their licenses.
Sonam Dhendup said they could not correctly or accurately distinguish whether the alleged façade licensees are in fact façade cases.
The trade office raised awareness of new criminal laws and likely penalties.
“We want this to be clear. If they do show up, that would be good. We don’t want people to be taken by surprise when the law is implemented, ”he said.
Meanwhile, the country’s largest mall is also seen as the breeding ground for front companies due to the porosity of the border.
Without proper laws, fronting, which is usually an act of leasing out licenses to non-Bhutanese, has flourished in the city, presenting a huge challenge in stopping the outflow of income. According to the trade office, Bhutanese license holders easily earn money from commissions without investing or taking any business risks.
However, with the new law, front companies will be treated as criminal offenses and punished from next year.
Head-on cases between Bhutanese will be charged with violation for the first conviction and minor misdemeanor and revocation of license if convicted for the second time.
It would be a fourth degree felony or a value-based sentence, whichever is greater, if a confrontation takes place between a Bhutanese and a non-Bhutanese and between non-Bhutanese license holders .
A businessman said that fronting is present in all sectors of Phuentsholing, such as trade, services, travel agencies and block export.
“Now some may have moved on to Thimphu,” he said.
He said that when there were people without 100,000 Nu in their accounts, nor any past transactions, it was hard to believe that they had import licenses.
“Licenses have to be provided with all of this in mind,” he said. “An import business needs a huge investment. “
Phuentsholing resident Karma Tshering Dorji said the government must first shut down the largest fronting entities. The smaller ones would dissolve automatically, he added.
“Bhutanese should think about attracting foreign direct investment rather than confronting non-Bhutanese,” he said.
He said the front laws between Bhutanese were irrelevant.
“If the rental of licenses between Bhutanese is false and criminal, the government must now think about hiring people in business and entrepreneurial training, and not just rely on the new law,” he said. declared.
Edited by Tshering Palden