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Government Agencies Adopt Responsive Rules to Strengthen Businesses’ Competitive Edge

7 November 2014 [Singapore] – Government agencies remain responsive to businesses’ needs when implementing rules and regulations to support business competitiveness. The overall Pro-Enterprise Index (PEI) of the 26 agencies based on the Pro-Enterprise Ranking (PER) Survey in 2014 was 74.2, an improvement from the score of 71.2 in 2012.
The PER Survey is conducted to assess government agencies with regulatory functions on how business friendly they are. The 2014 survey, commissioned by the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP), found that agencies have made improvements in terms of responsiveness to customers and transparency in the administering of rules. These efforts contributed to Singapore’s strong showing in the latest World Bank report1, which ranked Singapore the world’s most business-friendly environment for the ninth consecutive year.
Agencies that have done well in the survey were recognised at the Pro-Enterprise Panel – Singapore Business Federation (PEP-SBF) Awards 2014. The event recognises the efforts of government agencies in their commitment to stay pro-enterprise as well as the contributions of businesses in providing useful feedback and suggestions to improve the business environment.
Four major awards are given out at this event: PEP-SBF Pro-Enterprise Agency Awards; PEP Best Suggestion (Business) Awards; PEP Best Suggestion (Supporting Agency) Awards and the Public Sector Pro-Enterprise Initiative Awards 2014. In total, 19 awards were given out to public agencies, businesses and individuals.
Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo, Guest of Honour at the event, said, “Government regulations, while sometimes necessary, need not be onerous. Many agencies have put in extra efforts to listen to the business communities they serve, to re-examine their rules and procedure and to make changes for the better. The Awards encourages all of them to step up their support to businesses and keep Singapore one of the most enterprise-friendly places in the world.”
Mr Lawrence Leow, Honorary Treasurer of the SBF and Chairman of the SME Committee, said that he was glad that agencies such as MOM were recognised by businesses as pro-enterprise. Mr Leow said, “MOM is tasked with the mission to build progressive workplaces and strengthening tripartite relationships. MOM has important touch points to many businesses, which include workplace safety and manpower policy. It is important that policies and processes be helmed by an agency that is pro-enterprise, so that local businesses can thrive with less unnecessary regulatory procedures.”
MPA and MOM named top and most improved agency respectively
The PEP-SBF Pro-Enterprise Award is given to the top five agencies and three most improved agencies in the PER Survey. Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) emerged top again this year, a consistent performance for the past three consecutive PER Surveys.
Believing that the Government must keep itself close to the ground, MPA’s Chief Executive, Mr Andrew Tan said, “We are greatly encouraged by the strong support from the maritime industry. We will continue to work closely with all our stakeholders to tackle a more challenging business environment. By working together, we can come up with better solutions and greater buy-in. Mutual trust and respect are key ingredients for success."
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was recognised by businesses for being pro-enterprise. It bagged five awards at the PEP-SBF Awards 2014, including the Most Improved Agency Award, three of the Public Sector Pro-Enterprise Initiative Awards and the PEP Best Suggestion (Supporting Agency) Award. MOM’s score increased by 12.3 points from 61.0 in 2012 to 73.3 in 2014, moving it up from 23rd position to 12th position in 2014.
Responding to its improved performance, MOM’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Loh Khum Yean, said “MOM recognises the need for Singapore to remain attractive to global investments and also to help businesses here grow, for sustainable economic growth and job creation. We will continue to make sure that our policies, programmes and regulations contribute towards creating an environment that is conducive for businesses”.

In addition, two individuals will receive the PEP Best Suggestion Awards for providing good feedback and suggestions to improve rules and regulations through the PEP so as to better facilitate businesses. The agencies that have implemented these winning PEP suggestions will also be recognised and awarded the PEP Best Suggestion (Supporting Agency) Award.

Speech by Lawrence Leow

 1 World Bank Doing Business Report 2015

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