New inter-ministerial committee to review S’pore business rules and help firms cut red tape, costs

New inter-ministerial committee to review S’pore business rules and help firms cut red tape, costs

SINGAPORE – A new government committee will review regulations, with the aim of cutting red tape and creating a more business-friendly environment.

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat said on May 24: “The Government wants to do what we can to help our companies lower transaction and regulatory costs, especially when it comes to transacting with the Government, when applying for licences, or embarking on some new and innovative business ideas.”

Mr Chee was speaking at a briefing ahead of a meeting with members of the Alliance for Action on Business Competitiveness (AfA), a public-private partnership set up in February 2024 comprising 19 representatives from the Government, industry, trade associations and chambers and trade unions.

The new inter-ministerial review committee will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Gan Kim Yong, and consists of Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling and ministers K. Shanmugam, Chee Hong Tat, Tan See Leng and Desmond Lee.

Mr Chee said that the committee will “engage different groups of businesses” to understand some of the challenges they are facing.

“We will take their feedback and suggestions and discuss with our colleagues from the Government to see how we can make things better,” he added.

Mr Chee noted that initiatives like the Alliance for Action on Business Competitiveness serve the same purpose, but the inter-ministerial committee will give them a “bigger push”.

He said: “We think it’s important for all ministries and government agencies to embark on this rules review exercise to see how we can make things better for our citizens and businesses.”

Mr Chee also noted that reviewing business regulations will be a “priority item” for the Ministry of Transport. The ministry will collaborate with stakeholders in the land, sea and air transport industries to gather feedback and review these rules, he noted.

An example of such a review is the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) reassessing its regulatory requirements for unmanned aircraft light shows. Mr Chee explained that current regulations require a licence for each drone, which becomes impractical for light shows using 1,000 drones or more.

He said: “CAAS has obtained this feedback from one of the light show companies, and CAAS agrees that, as part of the pro-business rules review, we can do better and use a different approach.

“Instead of regulating drone by drone, we will regulate show by show.”

Mr Chee added that the licensing fee for drones will be cut from more than $20,000 to a few hundred dollars for such events in the future.

At the briefing, Ms Low and Singapore Business Federation deputy honorary treasurer Mark Lee, who co-chairs the AfA, provided updates on the AfA’s activities.

Ms Low said that the AfA will focus on three key areas – manpower, land and regulatory competitiveness.

“The AfA is looking at this three-sector pillar, including using this opportunity to strengthen our regulatory competitiveness because it is important to help our businesses, and it is important to reduce complexity in navigating government regulations,” she added.

Mr Lee, who is also a Nominated MP, said that the AfA will likely engage between 80 and 100 companies by the end of the year.

The AfA was set up to facilitate engagements between the public and private sectors through industry engagements, focus group discussions and public consultations.

The Trade Ministry notes that the AfA had conducted five engagement sessions with over 60 business leaders, industry partners, union representatives and government agencies as at May 2024. The partnership is expected to run until the end of the year.

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