Putting up promotional banners gets easier from Jan 1

The exterior of 313 Somerset and a banner showing dengue alert.
The exterior of 313 Somerset and a banner showing dengue alert. PHOTO: ST FILE

From Jan 1, event organisers who want to put up promotional banners in Orchard Road and in the Civic District will have to contact only one agency - the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Currently, they have to get the nod from five agencies: the Building and Construction Authority, LTA, the National Arts Council, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

This is one of the ways the public service will cut red tape to encourage innovation, said Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung yesterday.

Separately, the STB will work with hotels to develop prototypes that can allow guests to check into hotels using facial recognition technology, said Mr Ong, who leads the public sector's innovation drive.

Though the technology for doing so is well developed, there are reasons why hotels have not used the technology for check-ins, said Mr Ong, who did not elaborate.

The Ministry of Home Affairs will allow hotels to test such technology, he added.

Also, public servants will find it easier to procure small-ticket items.

From next month, they will no longer have to call for quotations for items valued at less than $6,000, up from the current ceiling of $5,000.

A common gripe among public servants was that they could not go for value-for-money suppliers they knew of because of the requirement to get three quotations for every purchase, Mr Ong said.

This was because few civil servants knew about this exception for small purchases, he said, adding that many are now aware of it.

Lastly, the regulatory knots that got in the way of installing floating solar panels at reservoirs have been largely untied, said Mr Ong.

These snags included determining a market price on rental of the water space, among other concerns raised by agencies.

Last week, the national water agency PUB said it was calling tenders for studies on the laying of solar panels on two reservoirs.

Likewise, the Ministry of Defence is speeding up feasibility studies for reservoirs located within its training areas. The Economic Development Board will also seek companies interested in these projects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Putting up promotional banners gets easier from Jan 1'. Print Edition | Subscribe