(Extracted from Financial Gleaner - Friday, April 2, 2015)
The Trade Board has increased its fees for, effective April 1, inclusive of general licensing, motor vehicle dealer certification, export certification, as well as charges for administrative services.
However, charges for the services provided to the scrap-metal sector, which the Trade Board also regulates, are unchanged, the state agency announced Tuesday.
Export certification fees, which previously ranged from a low of $25 up to $1,000 for various services, will all now cost $1,000 per service, with the exception of a new fee for certificate amendment to cost $250.
Administrative fees, which ranged between $1,000 and $10,000, will now range from $2,000 to $15,000, depending on the service.
Among the changes for motor vehicle dealers is the introduction of a $25,000 fee for registration of an additional lot for motor vehicle dealers. Late registration of dealers will also now incur a $50,000 charge.
President of the Used Car Dealers Association, Lynvale Hamilton, said the new costs will likely be transferred to customers.
"It must have some impact and it will affect the consumers, but not significantly," Hamilton said of the new $25,000 charge.
He said dealers who operate more than one car lot could spread the impact of the fees across the business to mitigate pass-through costs to consumers.
New dealer registration now costs $90,000, up 50 per cent from $60,000, with a similar jump for registration. General consumption tax should also be added to the increased costs, the Trade Board said.
President of the Automobile Dealers' Association, Kent LaCroix, is denouncing the fact that charges have been introduced without stakeholder dialogue.
"The Government keeps talking about transparency - this is not transparent," said LaCroix.
He said new car dealers will be impacted mostly by the changes to the import licensing fees. Both import and export licensing fees have increased from $3,519 to $5,500.
"At the end of the day, it's a matter that is going to be passed on to the consumers because we cannot absorb any additional costs," LaCroix said, noting that dealers are required to apply for permits for each vehicle.
Some of the other charges are "quite unreasonable," he added, citing the level of increase for motor vehicle dealer registration fees.
CEO of the Trade Board, Victor Cummings, said the increased fees are aimed at streamlining the agency's operational costs, following a review of the fee structure which revealed an imbalance in the service delivery costs to the agency and what it then charged the recipients.
"The last comprehensive review of our fees structure took place in 2005. We did an analysis of the fees that we charge and we saw that the cost of providing some of these services is significantly above what is charged," Cummings said. He said the agency is also taking on additional services and responsibilities.