Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where to get help cutting red tape

26 Sep 2007, ST

LIKE other businessmen, I am sometimes frustrated by government rules that do not make sense or are too hard to comply with.

Who can help?

You can approach the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP), which was set up with the sole mission of helping cut red tape.

The PEP, a dedicated feedback channel, actively reviews and improves rules and regulations that hinder businesses.

Led by Mr Peter Ho, head of the Civil Service, the PEP comprises mainly business champions from the private sector, such as Mr Dennis Foo, chief executive of St James, and Mr Lawrence Leow, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

The strong private sector representation ensures that sufficient consideration from a pro-business perspective applies in the evaluation.

Here is a simple example of how the PEP has helped cut red tape:

A company suggested that there was no need for holders of a Long Term Social Visit Pass to have two similar medical check-ups within a short period - the first when applying for the pass itself and the second when applying for a work permit.

The PEP raised the issue with the Ministry of Manpower and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which accepted the suggestion to streamline the process by linking their systems and sharing medical records.

The change meant savings for businesses, as they no longer have to incur the cost of two medical check-ups.

The PEP has reviewed more than 1,600 suggestions from businesses, of which 54 per cent have been accepted for implementation.

As a result, unnecessary licences have been removed, obsolete laws repealed, regulatory processes streamlined and access to government assistance schemes improved.

To give your suggestions on how to cut red tape or for more information, visit

You may also contact Ms Ng Hwee Hong at 6332 7035 or via e-mail at

Answers are provided by the Pro-Enterprise Panel.

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