BAHA is cramping the import business at the Santa Elena border. A normal order from Merida, where most of our goods come from, takes three working days. You place your order Monday, they load Tuesday, and Wednesday your goods are at the border. Belize Agricultural and Heath Authority (BAHA) wants 4 to 7 days to process a permit for shelf stable goods; imagine, table salt, which for many years before BAHA existed needed no permit.
If your goods arrive and the permit is not ready, you can import the goods but with a hefty fine of $200, plus the $25 which is charged for the permit when you apply for it, plus inspection fee $150 + $30 overtime, which is almost sure.
Man, this is ridiculous and costly. When business is slowed down, everybody suffers, even GOB, because revenue is important. We realize that organizations like these are necessary, but they should not be keeping back business. If your suppliers offer you a deal on a product, you have to turn it down because it is not in the permit. Methinks goods which are not high risk should not need a permit, only inspection.
I know that this is just one more unheeded cry in the wilderness, but will the Minister of Trade please look into this matter?