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Singapore SMEs get one-stop platform to provide feedback, seek help

SINGAPORE enterprises now have a one-stop platform to provide feedback to public agencies and seek advice on regulations, with the launch of the SBF-ASME Pro-Enterprise Clinic on Wednesday.

The clinic was launched by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (ASME) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI) Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP). It will perform several functions with the aim of reducing the number of touchpoints small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have with public agencies.

For instance, it will answer straightforward queries on regulations and direct companies to potential solutions for their business problems. It will also collate feedback and more complex queries and channel them to MTI's PEP, which will work with the relevant public agencies to address queries and suggestions for rule enhancements.

When necessary, SBF and ASME will arrange for one-to-one sessions with companies to discuss ways to reduce red tape and barriers to growth and innovation.

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Announcing the clinic's launch at the SME Centre Conference 2019, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat urged companies to use the service to provide feedback on rules and regulations, which will help improve the business environment here.

"Over time, we hope to involve more TACs (trade associations and chambers) to work with the Pro-Enterprise Panel to provide such services and further support our companies," said Mr Chee.

"When we review our rules, we help our companies reduce costs, save time and support their business ideas. But it also helps to keep our regulatory system nimble and responsive to new changes in business requirements and technology. It is a win-win partnership."

Kurt Wee, president of ASME and chairman of the SBF SME Committee, said: "Being in constant contact with the SME community, we have been hearing concerns from businesses that the feedback loop between enterprises and the government often takes quite some time. We believe that the introduction of the clinic allows an open feedback channel directly from SBF and ASME to the relevant public agencies to address issues in a timely manner. This can potentially reduce the complexity of the process and hence optimise help to SMEs."

Said Ho Meng Kit, chief executive officer of SBF: "Compliance costs have always been a key business challenge for our companies. This issue is more critical for our SMEs than for large companies. Recognising that factors governing how businesses deal with each other are changing faster than regulations can, it makes sense to set up this additional channel so that we can bridge government and companies more effectively."