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Nuku’alofa, Tonga, July 17, 2009
—IFC,a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of Tonga today launched a series of business licensing brochures to make it easier for businesses to acquire licences.
Each brochure outlines and clarifies the steps businesses need to follow to obtain a licence. The brochures represent the first step in a broader licensing review aimed at streamlining business licensing processes to improve Tonga’s investment climate.
The brochures were developed through the Working Group on Starting a Business, consisting of members from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries and the private sector. The Task Force on Regulatory Reform approved the maps for publication, as did each relevant Ministry. Chaired by the Minister of Finance with private sector representation, the Task Force has the mandate of encouraging private sector growth through regulatory simplification and reform.
IFC and Tonga’s Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries hosted the launch, which was attended by representatives from the Tongan government and the private sector. IFC has supported Tonga’s efforts to reform business regulation since 2004.
“This is the first time the Ministry has been able to offer these tools to the business community in Tonga,” said Lisiate ‘Akolo, Tonga’s Minister of Labour, Commerce, and Industries. “The brochures also provide a platform for businesses to recommend improvements in the licensing regime going forward.”
Pierre Guislain, Director of the World Bank Group’s Investment Climate Department, said, “The licence maps will reduce the uncertainty that has surrounded the current licensing procedures and should help simplify the process of starting a new business.”
The maps will be available online through the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries’ website and the Tonga Development Bank website,
. Members of the public can obtain hard copies of the brochures from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries.
Tonga became a member of IFC in 1985. It is receiving IFC investment climate advisory services in areas including business start-up and licensing, public-private dialogue, credit bureau development and, tourism sector diagnosis. The governments of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand provide financial support for these advisory services.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totalled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit
About the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group
The Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group helps governments implement reforms to improve their business environment, and encourage and retain investment, thus fostering competitive markets, growth and job creation. Funding is provided by the World Bank Group (IFC, MIGA, and the World Bank) and over fifteen donor partners working through the multi-donor FIAS platform.
New Business Licensing Brochures include:
Obtaining a Licence for a Construction Firm
Obtaining a Licence as an Electrician
Obtaining a Licence for Flammable Goods Outlets
Obtaining a Licence for a Foreign Exchange Dealer
Obtaining a Licence for Services involving the Use of Gases
Obtaining a Health Department Certificate for Wholesale and Retail Outlets, Restaurants, Accommodations, Food Handlers, and Therapeutic Goods Outlets
Obtaining a Liquor Licence for Restaurants, Accommodations, and Food Handlers
Obtaining a Tourism Licence
Obtaining a Licence for Fishing & Marine Products and Business Involving the Export of Native Plants
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