Second Reading Speech By The Deputy Prime Minister And Minister For Finance Lee Hsien Loong On The Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 2002 at The Parliament, 8 Jul 200209 Jul 2002
Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time".
2 Sir, the Business Registration Act provides the basic framework of governance for sole proprietorships and partnerships in Singapore. The Business Registration Act was last amended in April 2000.
3 Sir, I have highlighted in the Second Reading for the Companies (Amendment) Bill that the Registry of Companies and Businesses ("RCB") is working on an electronic filing system called Bizfile. As in the case of the Companies (Amendment) Bill, this Bill seeks to introduce legislative changes that would facilitate the implementation of Bizfile for businesses in Singapore. This Bill also seeks to streamline certain procedures and provisions in the Business Registration Act.
4 Sir, I shall now highlight the main amendments proposed in the Bill.
Removal of the Need for Physical Signatures, Certificates of Registration, Statutory Declarations and Affidavits
5 As in the case of companies, Bizfile would simplify the process for business owners to register their businesses and update their records with RCB. The user need not submit any hardcopy forms, declarations and affidavits.
6 Clause 6 amends Section 9 to dispense with the need to issue hardcopy certificates of registration as evidence of registration. The hardcopy certificate would be replaced by an electronic notification. Section 9 would also be amended to remove the requirement for the business owner to display a hardcopy certificate of registration. Any member of public who wishes to check the registration status of a business can do so online, at no charge. However, if a business requires hardcopy certificates of registration for other purposes, such as for submission to overseas regulators, it can still obtain hardcopy certificates from RCB upon the payment of a fee.
Removal of Pre-Registration Checks for Similar Names
7 Sir, in the Second Reading of the Companies (Amendment) Bill, I have explained the rationale for removing the requirement for the Registrar to do pre-incorporation checks for similar names. I have also explained how the proposed removal would benefit the business community and how there would be sufficient safeguards to protect the interest of incumbent companies and businesses. Clause 8 of the Business Registration (Amendment) Bill aligns the provision in Section 11 with the corresponding provision in the Companies (Amendment) Bill. Under the new Section 11, the Registrar will no longer do pre-registration checks for similar names.
8 The proposed amendments in this Bill are expected to benefit business owners in terms of lower costs, more efficient service and greater convenience. It would also align RCB's practices with its counterparts in the US, UK and Australia, and allow RCB to provide better service to its customers.
9 Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.
8 Jul 2002