SINGAPORE - From next year, business owners will find that applying for food and beverage (F&B) licences is a simpler, faster and cheaper process.
They will spend less time filling up forms, pay lower licensing fees and have their applications processed more quickly, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat on Thursday (Oct 4).
Mr Chee was giving an update on an ongoing effort by his ministry's Pro-Enterprise Panel to review and streamline regulatory requirements for the F&B industry.
"Previously, a company which wants to set up a food shop would need to fill up to 845 data fields across multiple forms administered by different government agencies," Mr Chee said.
This has been cut to 200 data fields so far, said Mr Chee, adding that he hopes to reduce this to fewer than 100 data fields.
The total amount of licensing fees for each applicant has been slashed by more than $500. Businesses are charged varying fees, depending on how many licences they apply as well as their business models and size of premises.
The time taken to process an application has also been reduced from 42 days to 28 days.
In addition, businesses will only have to upload supporting documents once, even when applying for licences from different agencies.
Mr Chee said that the Government will be working with the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) to test the new system and make further improvements before it is rolled out to all users next year.
He was speaking at the RAS Excellent Service Award ceremony held at One Marina Boulevard.
"We must ensure that when we try to achieve 'one-stop' service, our 'one-stop' should not become 'one more stop'," Mr Chee said.
"What we have done is to relook the entire service journey from a company's perspective: From setting up of the company to receiving the required licence approvals to commence operations."
The regulatory review team consists of staff from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, GovTech and the Public Service Division.
Mr Chee had announced the review during the debate on the President's Address earlier this year.
At Thursday's event, he also presented awards to more than 2,400 recipients for providing outstanding service. They included staff from well-known brands such as McDonald's and LiHo.