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Ministries Commended For Cutting Red Tape

02 May 2002

Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Trade & Industry are the winners of the POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating Red Tape) Award for the period July - December 2001. This is the second time that Ministry of National Development is winning the award. The Ministries received their awards from Ms Lim Soo Hoon, Permanent Secretary (Community Development & Sports) at the PS21 Forum on 30 April 2002.

2 The POWER Award is given out twice yearly to recognise Ministries that are responsive to public feedback and proactive in amending their rules. The objective is to reduce Government bureaucracy and improve the quality of services to the public. One of the winning entries by Ministry of Home Affairs was the One-Stop Public Entertainment Licensing Centre, which allowed the operators of entertainment outlets to apply online for the relevant approvals and licences from their homes or offices. The centre automatically routes the applications to the participating agencies for concurrent processing. This allows the operators to start their business faster as the time taken to obtain the approvals and licenses is reduced from about 8 weeks to 2.

3 The Ministry of Trade & Industry implemented a grant disbursement process to facilitate SMEs upgrading their IT infrastructure. Some SMEs face problems with having to fork out the entire project cost upfront and then claim the approved Government grants, through a reimbursement process. To overcome this problem, SPRING Singapore will on a case-by-case basis, allow SMEs to claim on a net fee payment basis. This means that firms need only to pay the portion of the consulting fees which is not paid for by Government.

4 The Ministry of National Development launched the Pilot home office scheme last year. This scheme allows small-scale businesses to operate offices from their homes within five selected areas. This helped to reduce business costs, especially for new start-ups.

5 For more details of the above initiatives and other initiatives taken by the 3 Ministries to cut red tape from July to December 2001, please refer to Annex A.

6 For more information on the POWER Award, you can contact Mr Khoo Chow Huat, Resource Person of the PS21 Organisational Review Committee, at Tel: 63251284 or