Govt to make it easier for businesses to apply for licences


TO CREATE a pro-business environment, the government wants to streamline regulations to reduce costs, cut paper work and free up resources, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng on Monday.

This is a "progressive move" as smaller businesses tend to have fewer resources to navigate regulations, he said during the Committee of Supply debate.

Along the same vein, the government will make it easier for businesses to apply for licences, he said.

"Starting with the food-services sector, we will pilot a one-stop portal to automate the application process and cut down processing time as far as possible," he said.

In response to Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Yi Shyan, Dr Tan said that the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) and agencies have co-developed best practices on licensing approaches. They have also reviewed and streamlined more than 1,000 regulations since the PEP's formation in 2000, based on feedback and international reports on ease of doing business in Singapore, he added.

However, he rejected the idea of imposing a sunset clause on regulations, stating that it may be "too prescriptive".

"What is more important is a mindset where agencies are continuously alive to the idea of rules review and transformation," he said.

Separately, MPs Saktiandi Supaat and Teo Ser Luck asked whether there is regulatory oversight on retailers extending credit to consumers.

Dr Tan replied that while the retailers offering in-house credit sales agreements are not specifically regulated today, they still have to abide by general laws, like the Sale of Goods Act and Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

"I agree that there should be adequate information disclosure by retailers so consumers can make informed decisions," he said.

He added that the government is working with stakeholders to review industry practices and to come up with the appropriate regulatory response.