Govt agencies more business-friendly this year: Poll

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and for Education, presenting the PEP-SBF Most Improved Agency Award to Mr James Khor, Iras' deputy commissioner, yesterday.
Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and for Education, presenting the PEP-SBF Most Improved Agency Award to Mr James Khor, Iras' deputy commissioner, yesterday.PHOTO: MTI

Businesses in Singapore have marked government agencies a little more highly this year than last year in a survey assessing how company- friendly they are.

One notable finding was a big jump in satisfaction with efforts by the tax office.

Most businesses felt official agencies regularly reviewed regulations and were transparent in administering them, the survey found.

The score of the annual Pro-Enterprise Ranking survey is 76.4 this year, up from 74.2 last year. The poll was commissioned by the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP), a public-private entity set up in 2000.

Agencies and businesses were recognised at the 2015 Pro-Enterprise Panel - Singapore Business Federation (PEP-SBF) Awards yesterday for their efforts to make Singapore more business-friendly.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and for Education, said at the event: "To be relevant, rules need to be regularly reviewed and adapted. We have engaged businesses and considered their feedback and suggestions to ensure that government regulations enable our businesses to grow and be competitive."

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore was ranked the top agency for the fourth straight year. The Singapore Land Authority and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) came in second and third, respectively.

Iras was recognised for being the most improved agency this year, rising to third from 17th place last year.

One of the PEP Best Suggestion Award winners was Mr Gan Pay Chee of Glimex Marketing. He suggested the Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) allow work permit holders in the construction, process and marine sectors to take on driving as a secondary job function.

After considering this feedback, the MOM has from June 1 allowed work permit holders in these sectors to drive as well as do their main jobs - allowing for more productive use of foreign labour.

Other public-sector teams were also recognised for being proactive in initiating changes that have improved service delivery and reduced business compliance costs. Some private-sector organisations were recognised for contributing the highest number of accepted suggestions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2015, with the headline 'Govt agencies more business-friendly this year: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe