Chapter 9. Singapore

Singapore’s regulatory reform efforts have focused on improving services and creating space for innovation through its digital strategy. Regulatory reviews, both pre- and post-implementation, are conducted on a regular basis. Public consultation for business-related issues is done through the reaching everyone for active citizenry @ home (REACH) platform or through the involvement of the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) and industry stakeholders. In order to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) linkages to the global value chain and encourage innovation, the government has been encouraging private sector collaboration through industry exchanges, the introduction of regulatory sandboxes, and programmes to link government procurement with SMEs.


Regulatory context

Singapore has remained among the top countries with the most appealing business environment (World Bank, 2018[1]). Singapore does not have a specific SME regulatory policy; rather, government efforts focus on improving the regulatory environment for all businesses. To date, many reforms have been undertaken by the government in order to help businesses – including SMEs - better access the different financial and assistance schemes. Many initiatives have been focused on going digital – broadening access to services and allowing SMEs to deal with less paperwork.

Since 2016, the Government has been implementing an Industry Transformation Programme. This is to be achieved through Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) within 23 selected industries under 6 clusters and is expected to serve as integrated roadmaps to drive industry transformation. Each ITM would contain a growth competitiveness plan, supported by four pillars including trade and internationalisation to support companies (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2016[2]).

Box 9.1. Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) in Singapore

The Government of Singapore has committed to taking an industry-centred strategy in a more systematic and co-ordinated way. The Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) therefore provide a roadmap for the 23 selected key industries within 6 clusters, which represent over 80% of Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP). These clusters include manufacturing, built environments such as construction or real estate, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, professional services and lifestyle.

The Future Economy Council (FEC), previously known as the Council for Skills, Innovation, and Productivity (CSIP), has assumed responsibility for the implementation of the ITMs. For tighter co-ordination and accountability within the government, a lead government agency would assume overall responsibility for each ITM and co-ordinate efforts among agencies and tripartite partners. Each ITM consists of a growth and competitiveness plan that includes four specific pillars:

  • Productivity – supporting companies, especially SMEs, to move to higher value-added activities and increase efficiency.

  • Jobs and Skills – equipping people with skills to support greater value creation.

  • Innovation – developing new products and services through research and development (R&D).

  • Trade and Internationalisation – supporting companies to export and grow abroad.

The implementation of ITMs also calls for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders such as SMEs, research institutions, trade associations and other providers.

Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry (2016), Media Factsheet – Industry Transformation Maps,

Regulatory governance

Institutional and regulatory setup

Table 9.1. Institutional and regulatory setup



State structure

Unitary state

Head of state

President, who is directly elected by the people and holds veto power over government as stipulated in the Constitution.


Prime Minister appointed by the President is responsible for commanding the majority of the members of parliament.

Cabinet is responsible for all daily governmental affairs and government policies. It is also accountable to the parliament (Government of Singapore, 2017[3]; Government of Singapore, 2017[4]).


Unicameral Parliament

101 seats, with 89 elected members of parliament (MP), 3 non-constituency members of parliament (NCMPs) and 9 nominated members of parliament (NMPs). Both NCMPs and NMPs are nominated (Parliament of Singapore, 2017[5]).

● The parliament is responsible for drafting laws, assuming inquisitorial roles in relation to the executive and directing state finances.

Legal system

Common law

Full judicial responsibility falls under the Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals) and the State Courts (district courts and magistrate courts). The small claims tribunals handle small claim disputes not exceeding SGD 10 000.

Administrative-territorial structure

Five districts (Community Development Councils, or CDC), which are represented by electoral constituencies and town councils.

Each CDC is managed by a council and headed by a mayor with 12-80 members. These are appointed by the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association.

Ministry or agency responsible for SMEs or SME-related issues

SPRING (Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board) Singapore is a body under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) that is responsible for the development and growth of enterprises in the country as well as ensuring the highest standards and accreditation for products and services.

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, also under MTI, serves as the agency responsible for international trade.

SPRING and IE are expected to merge to form Enterprise Singapore in the second quarter of 2018.

Other support structures within government on regulatory policy*

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the national regulator of business entities, public accountants, and corporate service providers in Singapore. It promotes a trusted and vibrant environment for businesses to thrive and flourish and contribute towards making Singapore the best place for business.

REACH (reaching for everyone for active citizenry @ home) serves as the lead agency responsible for facilitating whole-of-government efforts on public and private engagement.

Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) is a private-public panel chaired by the Head of Civil Service with mainly business leaders as members and supported by a network of senior public offers. The PEP serves as an internal advocate for businesses within the government to enable a more pro-enterprise environment that facilitates the growth of competitive businesses.

* The three entities specified are examples of support structures within government on regulatory policy and are not exhaustive.

Sources: OECD compilation; Government of Singapore (2017), The Government (accessed on 29 November 2017); Government of Singapore (2017), The Cabinet, (accessed on 29 November 2017); Parliament of Singapore (2017), Functions, (accessed on 25 October 2017).

Regulatory process

Before any law (or regulation) is passed, it must first be introduced to parliament through a “bill”. A bill is often introduced by a respective minister or any member of the house. These go through three readings through parliament and are then passed to the President before they become an act or law.

Figure 9.1. Law-making process in Singapore

Source: Parliament of Singapore (2017), (accessed on 29 November 2017).

When a new regulation is introduced, line ministries are required to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the regulation, including the benefits gained, costs to stakeholders, and other likely distributional effects. Other alternatives are systematically considered in the process to evaluate the pros and cons of a regulation to businesses, consumers and the government. Alternatives include taxes, standardisation, conformity assessments and self-regulation. Information on this is available to the public prior to its presentation to the parliament. Stakeholders are welcome to submit consultation questions in order to seek clarifications on new or amended regulations. Government agencies or regulators then report the results of their assessments to parent ministries on a regular basis, such as during a mid-term or end-term review.

Business laws and regulations in Singapore

All policy development and implementation in the country occurs at the central level, given Singapore’s small size. Similarly, business regulations apply to all firms whether they are big or small. There is no dedicated SME regulatory policy in Singapore (Annex 9.A) (World Bank, 2017[6]).

SMEs in Singapore are defined as enterprises with either an annual sales turnover of less than SGD 100 million or a workforce of fewer than 200 employees. Although this definition has not been gazetted by law, it is nonetheless widely regarded as the national definition for SMEs in the development of national economic plans and assistance programmes as well as in public communications such as budget announcements or ministerial speeches.

SMEs are further classified into several categories, namely: micro, small, medium and large enterprises based on their annual turnover. This classification is used internally among government offices as a way to understand, analyse and report on the SME landscape.

There are approximately 180 000 small and medium-sized (SMEs) in Singapore, which employ around 70% of the workforce and contribute to around 47% of the total GDP in the country.

Business registration and incorporation

Business registration in Singapore is facilitated online by the Accounting and Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA) and can be done within a few hours. In order to incorporate a company, the proprietor(s) would need to prepare the following information and proof: 1) company name; 2) brief description of business activities; 3) shareholders particulars; 4) registered address; 5) company secretary particulars; and 6) constitution.

There are only two steps to incorporation, which includes name registration and actual registration. Name registration of a company normally occurs within an hour and is rejected only under specific circumstances such as repeated names, trademarks, reservations or obscenity. The name is subsequently reserved from the date of application. Once this has been approved and all the paperwork has been submitted, the incorporation can be completed within a few hours. In some cases, authorities can ask for additional information which may prolong the approval process.

Following incorporation, the company would need to open a corporate account in a bank and, if needed, to obtain specific business licences before any operation. If the company’s annual revenue is above SGD 1 million, the company is required to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Furthermore, the company would need to ensure that it complies with the Singapore Companies Acts and meet annual filing requirements and formalities.

Highlights of regulatory opportunities and challenges to support SMEs

Administrative simplification

In Singapore, part of simplifying the regulatory process is focused on providing services through one-stop shops. This allows the government to streamline its services and improve co-ordination and alignment across the different concerned ministries and agencies. With the support of Enterprise Singapore, SMEs are provided with easy access to services such as business advisory services and other available government assistance and financing programmes. Some online one-stop shops are also housed in business chambers, associations and community centres. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) website BizFile+ and the Government of Singapore’s Business licensing portal (LicenceOne) are two such examples (Box 9.2) (ACRA, 2017b[7]; Government of Singapore, 2017[8]).

Other simplification exercises have also focused on improving specific processes to ensure that regulatory objectives are adequately met. As an example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sought to broaden its efforts in promoting financial instruments for enterprise development and simplify the regulatory framework for venture capital (VC) managers (Box 9.3) (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2017[9]; Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2017[10]).

Efforts have also been undertaken to consolidate services. Enterprise Singapore, for example, serves as both the safety authority for goods as well as the parent agency under which testing, inspection, and accreditation of goods are conducted by the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC). This arrangement gathers a number of standards, enforcement and inspection processes under one oversight body (Box 9.4).

Box 9.2. Examples of online one-stop shops in Singapore


The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore introduced BizFile+, an online business registration and filing portal, as a one-stop facilitator for businesses. BizFile+ offers over 400 e-services, from business registration, submission of statutory documents and retrieval and purchase of information pertaining to business entities registered with ACRA.


LicenceOne is a one-stop business licensing portal that simplifies the application and payment of licence-related fees and allows business to apply for multiple licences simultaneously across 34 government agencies. Other features of the portal include updating, renewal, and termination of licences.

Sources: ACRA (2017), BizFile+, (accessed on 16 November 2017); Government of Singapore (2017), LicenceOne, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

Box 9.3. Promoting access to finance in Singapore through regulatory simplification

Venture capital (VC) fund managers play an important role in the ASEAN region’s emerging start-up ecosystem. In Singapore, the VC industry has been growing at an unprecedented rate and has been essential in providing seed capital and expertise to local start-ups notably at the early growth stage. As a way to also further promote enterprise development in the country, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has sought to further expand the size and scope of available funding.

Prior to simplification, VC managers adhered to the same regulatory frameworks as other fund managers and are subjected to requirements that are not necessarily in line with their operations, which slowed down the application process for new VC fund managers. As a result, the government decided to conduct a public consultation exercise and consulted with relevant stakeholders to help improve the system. The proposed simplification process aimed to improve the extent of contractual safeguards as well as fitness and propriety assessments for VC managers.

Sources: Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Faster Approvals and Lower Requirements for Venture Capital; Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Proposed Regulatory Regime for Managers of Venture Capital

Box 9.4. Avoiding duplications in testing and inspections for exported goods from Singapore

The Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC), operating under the aegis of SPRING Singapore, is a is a signatory to Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and Multi-lateral Recognition Agreements (MLA) under the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC), International Accreditation Forum (IAF), Pacific Accreditation Co-operation (PAC) and Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (APLAC). The MRAs and MLAs provide a global passport for enterprises in Singapore, eliminating the need for duplicative re-testing, re-inspection, or re-calibration of goods upon entry to importing countries (Enterprise Singapore, 2014[11]).

Furthermore, SPRING Singapore functions as a safety authority. There are no labelling requirements for electronic and electrical goods with the exception of Safety Mark for controlled goods, which require the minimum certification procedure based on type testing only. Efforts have been made to streamline these requirements so that there are no requirements for batch inspection, factory inspection and batch testing (Enterprise Singapore, 2014[12]).

Sources: Enterprise Singapore (2014),; Enterprise Singapore (2014), Consumer (accessed on 14 June 2018).


Since the 1980s, the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector has been driving public sector efficiency and improving the whole-of-government integration. The latest e-government masterplan (2011-15) has focused on strengthening government-private value innovation and economic competitiveness, notably for SMEs. The goal was to shift the delivery of government e-services from a top-down “Government-to-You” system to a “Government-with-You” approach (GovTech, 2016[13]). The e-Gov15’s objectives focus on:

  • Co-creating for greater value (government as a service and platform provider).

  • Connecting for active participation (consulting the public and inviting ideas from the public).

  • Catalysing whole-of-government transformation (transforming public sector infrastructure and services through G-Cloud and Singapore Government Enterprise Architecture (SGEA) and transforming the public sector workplace and capabilities).

In 2014, the government introduced the Smart Nation initiative, which aims to harness the growth of ICT and tech-enabled solutions to empower government bodies, businesses, and citizens to address national and global issues and improve the overall welfare of the country.

The Government of Singapore has offered mobile applications of government services for citizens and businesses to access them on the go. Examples of government services going mobile are presented in the Box 9.5.

Box 9.5. Government applications in Singapore

One Service App

In 2015, the Municipal Service Office (MSO) under the Ministry of National Development of Singapore introduced the OneService application, which serves as a platform for citizens to provide feedback to the municipal office on issues such as cleanliness, damaged signs, water quality, sanitation and pest control, among others. The smartphone app allows users to take photos and geo-tag areas of concern for agencies to be able to easily locate and identify the issue. Given the success and popularity of the application, in 2017, the MSO enhanced the application’s services by improving the ease of use and providing users with information on the status of their cases. Users are provided are now informed of their feedback with indicators such as acknowledged, working on it, or closed. MSO continues to work with various government agencies to efficiently address issues raised through the application, especially with regard to specific issues that require cross-agency collaboration. The app currently has over 100 000 users with over 130 000 user cases reported (Municipal Services Office, 2017[14]).

ACRA on the Go (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority)

A number of ACRA’s services are already accessible on line ( but the authority has also developed a new mobile application to allow users to access information on ACRA’s registry of businesses in Singapore. At the same time, users can also undertake some business registration and filing transactions such as renewing registration for some business entities, filing annual declarations or changing business addresses. An online inquiry service is also made available through the application (ACRA, 2014[15]).

Singapore Budget (Ministry of Finance)

The Budget Mobile App of the Ministry of Finance provides users with information and announcements on Singapore budget and yearly budget statements. Since 2016, the mobile app has also featured a live streaming of the annual budget speeches.

Sources: Municipal Service Office (2017), One Service, and Engaged Community for a Better Living Environment, (accessed on 26 October 2017); ACRA (2014), Online Services, (accessed on 26 October 2017).

Singapore also runs a number of programmes intended to help SMEs increase their connectivity by raising awareness of the digital economy benefits and support adoption of digital solutions, as well as provide education and training on the use of digital technology. These programmes are available to SMEs nationwide and are presented in the box below (Box 9.6).

Box 9.6. Encouraging the use of digital platforms for SMEs

SME Go Digital Programme

During the 2017 Budget Speech, the government committed to invest SGD 80 million to launch the SMEs Go Digital Programme. The programme, led by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) together with SPRING Singapore and other lead agencies, aims to strengthen SMEs’ capability in the use of digital technology. This includes three core components focused on ICT pilots, advice and in-person assistance in SME centres or SME technology hubs, in addition to strengthening data and cybersecurity.

Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF)

On 2 February 2015, Google, along with Development Bank of Singapore and SingPost, launched a 72-hour long shopping festival. With the support of SPRING Singapore, the festival was aimed at bringing over 60 brands into 1 common platform. SPRING also supported local retailers in adopting digital platforms for sales as a way to cater to a growing digital-savvy population. During the festival, Singpost offered its delivery and returns services to online shoppers, including access to its 90 POPStations or smart locker stations that allow customers to collect, pay or even return purchases at any time of the day.

99% SME Campaign

Launched by DBS and SingTel, the 99% SME campaign was created for SMEs to market their businesses and reach out to more customers via an online platform. This year, the 99% SME eMarketplace was created for SMEs to advertise their products (99% SME, 2017[16]).

Squared Online for SMEs

Google will be working with leading global training providers to equip 1 000 business leaders in SMEs with the knowledge and skills to improve their in-house digital marking capabilities by 2019. This initiative is aligned with the government’s SMEs Go Digital Programme (Choudhury, 2017[17]).

SME e-Commerce Accelerator programme

The Singapore Retail Association, with the support of SPRING Singapore and Workforce Singapore has developed an SME e-commerce Accelerator programme to help retailers plan for omni-channel implementation, which is a multichannel or integrated sales strategy. Through the programme, the Singapore government envisions to increase e-commerce sales by 10% by 2020.

Sources: Country response to OECD survey, 2017; 99% SME (2017), 99% SME, (accessed 22 November 2017); Choudhury, A. R. (19 April 2017), Google to Help Train 1,000 SME Business Leaders in Singapore, (accessed on 22 November 2017).

Regulatory sandboxes

In Singapore, innovation is encouraged through the use of regulatory sandboxes. This involves setting boundaries within which some rules can be suspended to allow greater experimentation for companies, especially SMEs and start-ups.

Box 9.7. Regulatory sandbox: Flexible regulations in Singapore

Regulatory sandboxes have been adopted by Singapore as a way to encourage more innovation from new and emerging industries.

Autonomous vehicles

The Land and Transportation Authority (LTA) had provided more flexibility for autonomous vehicle (AV) trials in the country. The provisions are aimed at providing more time for operators and developers to develop the technology while also providing the time for the government to assess the appropriate regulatory response. The regulatory sandbox has been limited to five years, after which the government would enact a more permanent legislation or re-consider the extension of the sandbox (Channel NewsAsia, 2017[18]).


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is supporting FinTech innovations by providing start-ups and FinTech players the flexibility to test and improve their products. The MAS holds the authority to relax certain regulations or requirements depending on the experiment. Once the company or entity has successfully carried out the experiment and has exited the sandbox, it must then fully comply with the relevant legal and regulatory requirements (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2017[19]).

Sources: Channel NewsAsia (2017), Regulations in Place to Ramp Up Driverless Vehicle Trials in Singapore,; Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Understanding and Applying to the Sandbox,

Regulatory delivery

Regulatory compliance

Compliance with standards

The government encourages the direct use of international standards whenever possible. When there is no appropriate international equivalent, or when there is a need to customise standards to meet domestic requirements, Singapore Standards (SS) are developed in line with the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement. Alternatively, a provisional standard can also be used, in the form of a technical reference (TR), under certain circumstances as outlined in the box below.

There is a range of mechanisms to facilitate trade between parties, including through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and equivalence agreements or arrangements. In addition, it participates in the development of new international standards on various fora, such as the International Standards Organization (ISO) and International Electro-technical Commission (IEC), as well as regional and international MRAs and Multi-lateral Agreements (MLAs) to establish trade facilitative measures such as mutual recognition of conformity assessment results.

Singapore Standards (SS) are typically reviewed every five years on average to consider whether they should be confirmed, revised, amended, archived or withdrawn; but may be reviewed earlier if the need arises. The development of national standards is co-ordinated by Enterprise Singapore’s Standards Division with the guidance of an industry-led Singapore Standards Council.

The Council, which includes representation from private and public stakeholders, formulates strategies on Singapore’s standardisation programme. Standards committees responsible for formulating and establishing national standards have representatives from government, industry, professional and tertiary institutions, and consumer associations. As part of the standards development process, members of the public and SMEs are also invited to provide public comments on draft Singapore Standards for development, review and publication (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[20]).

Box 9.8. Shared standards building in Singapore

Standards serve as an important benchmark for best practices across different industries – from product design to manufacturing and export. Enterprise Singapore, Singapore’s national standards body, helps to meet optimal industry standards that are well-aligned with international standards by working closely with Singapore Standards, representatives from the public and private sector, research organisations, academia and consumers (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[21]).

In cases where there are no existing international standards, Enterprise Singapore helps develop new standards via two processes:

  1. 1. Singapore Standard (SS), which a voluntary standard that is subjected to a full consensus process and a two-month long public review. A Singapore Standard becomes mandatory when it is either cited or included in the legislation.

  2. 2. Technical reference (TR), which is a fast-track document without the public review, and is only used for the following purposes:

    • as a test, before it is implemented in the whole industry, e.g. technical reference for Electric Vehicle (EVs) Charging System in Singapore to support the test of EVs

    • as a way to meet urgent demands, e.g. Technical Reference on Cloud Computing for the use of public computing services

    • as a temporary standard, in case of an urgent need for a formal reference standard.

Source: Enterprise Singapore (2018), Standards, (accessed on 14 June 2018).

At the regional level, Enterprise Singapore represents Singapore at the ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality (ACCSQ), which addresses Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) in ASEAN through the harmonisation of standards and technical requirements, development of MRAs on conformity assessment results and harmonisation of regulatory regimes.

Compliance with intellectual property

As of July 2017, approximately 17 000 SMEs in Singapore (8% of the total SME population in the country) have registered their intellectual property (IP) rights in Singapore. Many companies, including SMEs, also own IP in the form of copyright and trade secrets, which do not require registration. Singaporean companies which are registered overseas can also own IP for their overseas operations. To facilitate this process, the government has actively introduced a number of initiatives (Box 9.9).

Box 9.9. Strengthening intellectual property for SMEs in Singapore

The Ministry of Law and Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) recognises that SMEs need assistance to understand and utilise IP to their advantage. IPOS leverage trade and business associations to organise activities like IP innovation seminars. Singapore enterprises can also sign up for IP and IP management courses run by IPOS’ training subsidiary, IP Academy. IPOS will be launching a business portal with guides and diagnostic toolkits on IP to help SMEs understand their IP needs. In addition, IPOS’ subsidiary, IP ValueLab, provides local companies with subsidised one-on-one assistance for IP audit and IP strategy development (Ministry of Law Singapore, 2017[22]).

Furthermore, IPOS runs IP legal and business clinics for SMEs, where they can seek preliminary advice from IP experts and lawyers for free. The advice sought can include advice on IP disputes and enforcement.

The Intellectual Property Intermediary (IPI) was also established to assist SMEs to assess their technology gaps and help them find the IP that is best suited for their needs. (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[23]).

Enterprise Capability Upgrading Programme

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading programme asigns its researchers to SMEs to help them develop in-house R&D capabilities. Its Headstart programme enables SMEs to licence A*STAR’s IP on preferential terms. To date, more than 650 researchers have been attached to SMEs and more than 60% of A*STAR’s licences have been dedicated to SMEs (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[24]).

Capability Development Grant

The Capability Development Grant (CDG) is a financial assistance programme that helps SMEs build capabilities across ten key business areas, which include intellectual property protection (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[24]). An IP project may typically encompass one or more of the following areas:

  • Audit an existing IP management framework and develop an IP management roadmap.

  • Develop an IP management system.

  • Conduct IP research and intelligence analysis.

The grant defrays up to 70% of qualifying project costs.

Innovation and Capability Voucher

The Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) is a simple-to-apply, easy-to-use voucher to encourage SMEs to develop their business capabilities (Enterprise Singapore, 2018[25]). SMEs can use the voucher to upgrade and strengthen their core business operations through consultancy in the areas of productivity, human resources, financial management and innovation. The voucher can be used to offset the cost of the following IP management projects:

  • Intellectual Property Legal Diagnostic to help businesses identify key IP assets and strategies to protect and commercially exploit them.

  • Intellectual Property Management (IPM) diagnostic to help businesses assess the strengths and weaknesses of their IP deployment and management system.

Sources: Ministry of Law Singapore (2017), Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Local SMEs Owning Intellectual Property; Enterprise Singapore (2018), Intellectual Property; Enterprise Singapore (2018), Grants, (accessed on 14 June 2018); Enterprise Singapore (2018), Innovation and Capability

Enforcement and inspections

Singapore adopts several approaches to regulatory enforcement to ensure that business-related regulations are efficiently carried out (Box 9.10). Singapore Customs, for example, adopts a multi-pronged approach of strengthening self-compliance, timely detection of violations, deterrence through effective enforcement and penalties, regular monitoring of compliance status and risk reviews in order to achieve a high level of compliance of Singapore’s trade and customs law. A highly compliant trading community will enable Singapore Customs to better facilitate the flow of legitimate trade while targeting control measures to detect the minority of fraudulent traders, without raising compliance cost for traders in general or unduly inconveniencing them with onerous regulatory requirements.

Box 9.10. Various Approaches to regulatory enforcement in Singapore

Accreditation and quality standards compliance

An accreditation of an enterprise entails that it has been assessed against internationally recognised standards. Accreditation is granted to calibration and testing laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies and proficiency testing providers. In Singapore, the national authority responsible for independent accreditation of conformity assessment bodies is the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC) (Enterprise Singapore, 2016[26]).

Risk-based approach

Risk-based approaches, often in the form of random sampling and inspections, are applied by some government ministries or agencies. For example, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore uses risk-based approaches in carrying out compliance actions, by outlining areas of audit and specifically focusing on common errors committed by taxpayers when filing (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, 2017[27]).

Peer reviews

Peer reviews are conducted based on monitoring and complaints, and other audit activities for disciplinary processes. Disciplinary processes may also refer to the strict code of professional conducts and ethics in certain professions. Any breach on the code, from complaints or other forms, can lead to an investigation and disciplinary process.

Disclosure frameworks

Disclosure frameworks are aimed at improving the effectiveness of information disclosures by creating an overarching or standard framework. As an example, for companies, selecting the best audit firms suited to their size and complexity can often be challenging. Audit firms can vary in structure, strategies and priorities and the difference may result in complex accounting issues. As a way for listed companies to better evaluate and select right auditors, the Accounting and Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore had released an Audit Quality Indicators (AQIs) Disclosure Framework. The AQI framework includes eight audit quality indicators for audit committees to use as a common measurement by which audit quality can be assessed (ACRA, 2015[28]).

Rewards and sanctions

Source: Enterprise Singapore (2016), Getting; Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (2017), IRAS' Focus on Taxpayer Compliance,; ACRA (14 October 2015), Audit Quality Indicators Disclosure

Regulatory quality management

In Singapore, business regulatory policies are applied to all relevant enterprises. Formal assessments of business-related regulatory policies are conducted by the respective government agencies at their discretion. Assessments include regional and international benchmarking, where possible.

Singapore does not have a central oversight body or ministry with the sole function of looking into regulatory policies; nonetheless, respective government ministries and agencies are tasked to develop and review the regulations under their purview. Reviews of regulations are both demand-driven and conducted proactively. However, industry feedback does play a key role in providing agencies with the information on areas to review.

Government agencies are free to set the mode, frequency or type of regulatory review it undertakes as needed. These reviews can either focus on individual regulations that affect a business, a whole sector or a policy area, according to the jurisdiction covered by a specific ministry. These impact assessments are used to evaluate the effects of regulatory policies on specific target groups (such as businesses, consumers, or third-party stakeholders) as well as on the economy.

Monitoring and evaluation activities are also regularly conducted by respective government agencies to ensure that the key objectives of regulations are met. Various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are attached to regulatory policies and respective government agencies would report back to parent ministries on a regular basis in order to consolidate and verify the information, which is then published after each financial year.

Stakeholder engagement

Public consultations are regularly launched by the Government of Singapore to request for feedback on newly proposed or amended regulations or on existing government programmes and initiatives. Many of these public consultations focus on reducing administrative burden and improving the ease of doing business in the country. As part of the announcement for new or amended regulations, a suitable timeline would be provided for business owners to comply with the regulations so that businesses would have adequate time to adapt. Compliance rates are monitored when reviewing the regulations. Individual assessments on regulations are evaluated ex post and compared with outcomes. Businesses would also be informed of the necessary steps to comply with new regulations. Once the regulations take into effect, companies that are still unable to comply with any of the requirements would need to face penalties.

The relevant government agencies are responsible for communicating the benefits and costs of business regulatory policies to the general public. This is done through national outreach events such as seminars, conferences and workshops and public announcements both in paper or online media using platforms such as the press, government websites and social media platforms. In addition, major regulatory policies which may affect a range of sectors or industries in the economy are announced during annual budget announcements or National Day rally speeches.

Public agencies proactively review and update their rules, and these efforts can be boosted by ideas from businesses that are often best placed to tell the government how the rules can be formulated and implemented better to create a more pro-business and customer-centric environment, Singapore had established its Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP). The PEP ensures that government rules and regulations remain relevant and supportive of a pro-business environment. Businesses, notably SMEs, that would like to raise their concerns regarding specific regulations or regulatory decisions, are welcome to submit their feedback or appeal to PEP for consideration. Since its inception in 2000, more than 1 800 suggestions have been received and more than half of these have led to changes in rules or regulations.

Box 9.11. Improving transparency and ease of doing business in Singapore through stakeholder consultation

In 2016, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) launched two rounds of public consultations on the proposed amendments to the Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnerships Act. First enacted in 1967, the Companies Act had already undergone several reviews to ensure that the corporate regulatory regime continued to be robust and supportive of Singapore’s growth as a global hub for businesses and investors. The proposed amendments in 2016 sought to reduce the regulatory burden and improve the ease of doing business, as well as enhance the transparency of business entities with the aim of reducing burden for businesses and improving transparency (Ministry of Finance Singapore, 2017[29]; ACRA, 2017[30]). A summary of the feedback received from stakeholders was published online to reflect discussions from the consultation process (Ministry of Finance Singapore, 2017[31]). Based on the feedback received, MOF and ACRA made some revisions to the proposed amendments.

Revisions after the first round of consultations included the introduction of an inward re-domiciliation regime that allows corporations to transfer its registration from its home jurisdiction to another. This way, foreign corporations wishing to relocate to Singapore could be incorporated as a Singaporean company subject to the local Companies Act.

Revisions after the second round focused on reducing regulatory burden and improving the ease of doing business by: 1) simplifying the requirements for private companies to hold annual general meetings and file annual returns; and 2) removing the requirement for common seals and introducing an alternative of signature by authorised persons.

Another key revision following consultations sought to improve corporate transparency by requiring companies to disclose specific information on ownership and control of businesses in line with international standards for combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. An amendment to the Accountants Act clarified that a breach of the Ethics Pronouncement 200 would be grounds for disciplinary action under the act.

Sources: Ministry of Finance Singapore (2017), MOF and ACRA Publish Responses to Public Feedback on Proposed Changes to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act, and Accountants Act, (accessed 20 November 2017); Ministry of Finance Singapore (2017), OF and ACRA Invite Public Feedback on Proposed Changes to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act, and Accountants Act,

Prior to any public consultation exercise, government agencies are highly encouraged to submit a consultation paper to REACH (reaching everyone for active citizenry @ home). REACH’s website serves as an online discussion forum to gather responses from the public on a particular government policy or programme (Government of Singapore, 2017[32]).

Box 9.12. Strengthening citizen engagement in Singapore

Government agencies in Singapore have continuously sought to improve public service by reaching out to stakeholders, notably in relation to proposed regulations or programmes. As a way to streamline and consolidate public engagement efforts, the Government of Singapore has set up REACH (reaching everyone for active citizenry @ home), an agency responsible for the whole-of-government approach to citizen engagement.

Before a government agency decides to conduct or organise a public consultation through REACH, they would need to consider the following:

 . Public consultations should have a purpose, e.g. to consult about policies or implementation plans at the early stages of the policy-making process.

 . Participating agencies should be informative and provide sufficient information to ensure the public understands the issues, in order for them to be able to provide informed responses.

 . Participating agencies should be responsible for sharing findings to be uploaded on the same page as the original consultation in a timely fashion, by explaining the responses received and how these responses have informed the policy process.

Once the government agency has decided to proceed with the consultation exercise, it must submit a consultation paper to REACH. The paper includes a brief summary of the regulation, details of the consultation such as proposed changes or amendments made to the regulation, feedback channels (email, mail or phone) and any supporting documents that they wish to disclose to the public. An online discussion forum is used to gather responses from the public, through the REACH website. Stakeholders that are consulted are open to share their views and comments or seek clarifications on the proposed amendments to existing regulations or bills, with supporting evidence provided when required. Consultations usually last for approximately four weeks. After the consultations have been conducted, a summary of the responses is published on the REACH website, which is made available to the public.

Source: Government of Singapore (2017), REACH, (accessed on 15 November 2017).

Box 9.13. Making legislation simple and accessible in Singapore

As part of the effort to make local laws easier to understand, Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has improved its Statutes Online (SSO) website. The website serves as the official and free online repository for all legislation passed in the country. The improvements aimed to make the written laws more accessible to different users, from parliamentarians to civil society.

Following two rounds of public consultant surveys (November 2013 and September 2016), the AGC had rolled out a beta version of the website to provide users time to adjust to the new features and to allow them to provide feedback before its official launch in 2017.

Part of the simplification process also includes progressively improving law drafting in the country, as a way to present complex information to a varied set of users. This includes shortening phrases and using simpler English terms, simplifying provisions and adopting gender-neutral requirements.

Source: Government of Singapore (2015), Singapore Statutes Online, (accessed on 17 November 2017).

New or amended regulations may also be published via other means, including government statements on various government agencies’ website and press releases. As an example, recent amendments to the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act (CPFTA) were published on MTI’s website. The CPFTA provides for civil actions which may be taken against errant retailers who persist in unfair practices. In addition, it aims to simplify onerous measures that can impose unnecessary costs to businesses that may then be passed on to consumers.

Following substantial feedback from stakeholders, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has recently revamped its Singapore Statutes Online (SSO) website to make it more available to the public. Furthermore, as a way to encourage public engagement, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) of Singapore is currently simplifying the language and presentation of Singapore’s statutes in order to make regulatory requirements clearer and more comprehensive (Government of Singapore, 2015[33]).

SME linkages

Public and private sector collaboration

Singapore has introduced a number of initiatives and programmes to foster growth among SMEs as well as encourage collaboration between the private and public sector (Box 9.14). The Government itself plays an active role in procuring goods and services from SMEs. Each year, over 80% of government contracts (roughly half of total government contract value) go to SMEs. By number of contracts, more than 40% were won by companies with revenue of less than SGD 10 million. Of these contracts, almost half were won by micro-enterprises with revenue of less than SGD 1 million.

Box 9.14. Government initiatives to improve public-private collaboration


The Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) is an initiative that encourages enterprises to collaborate for mutual benefits. Under PACT, lead enterprises collaborate with smaller SMEs in projects related to capability development and joint business development. Capability development projects include areas such as supplier upgrading, co-innovation and knowledge transfer. Joint business development projects include areas such as the formation of business alliances or embarking on projects related to shared resources.

In 2017, a Government Partnerships for Capability Transformation (Gov-PACT) programme was launched to help SMEs without a track record participate in government procurement. Gov-PACT provides grants to SMEs and start-ups to collaborate with and undertake innovative projects initiated by government agencies. SMEs and start-ups will be funded at various stages of product and solution development for these innovative projects.

Example of a Gov-PACT project:

  • The Housing and Development Board (HDB) worked with SMEs to develop the business and deployment model for a Smart Elderly Monitoring and Alert System. The system allowed families to monitor the safety of the elderly at home and to receive alerts when a mobile panic button is pressed during an emergency, or when unusual living patterns are detected. HDB helped to pair SMEs with telecommunication companies to operationalise the system, which is now being piloted in Yuhua.

Public-Private Co-Innovation Partnership

The Public-Private Co-Innovation Partnership (PPCIP) set up in 2010 aimed to encourage innovation between the government and the private sector, and provide opportunities for companies commercialise future-ready solutions in sectors such as urban solutions, ICT, healthcare and education. By the time the PPCIP concluded in 2016, numerous government agencies had also started to put in place similar initiatives to support public-private co-innovation and collaboration.

Examples of PPCIP projects:

  • Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) Open Innovation Call, which aimed to seed, drive and replicate innovation projects

  • Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Care-at-Home Grant, which aimed to encourage greater innovation and adoption of technologies that are both productive and cost-effective among home care service providers.


Government agencies are making use of crowdsourcing methods to identify innovative solutions to social, economic and technological challenges. Crowdsourcing is an effective way for the government to partner with businesses, community and individuals.

Examples of a government crowdsourcing campaigns:

  • At the recent Designathon 2017, organised by the Design Singapore Council, there was a focus on developing solutions for persons with disabilities. The winning team comprised of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, who developed a device for converting a manual wheelchair into an electric wheelchair at a fraction of the price of a regular electric wheelchair.

  • The Housing and Development Board (HDB) rolled out a competition called the HDB’s Cool Idea Challenge, which solicited ideas for a safer gas hob. Fires caused by unattended cooking cause a significant portion of fires in residential buildings; as a result, students from Republic Polytechnic and Anglo Chinese Junior College proposed a gas hob with a safety device that cuts off the gas supply when the flame goes out – ultimately preventing fires. The team subsequently worked with City Gas and Aerogaz, two gas companies in Singapore, to commercialise the idea and then eventually released it to the market in 2015.

Accreditation@IMDA scheme

The Accreditation@IMDA scheme helps promising and innovative Singapore-based technology start-ups establish their credentials. To date, the scheme has helped around 59 companies by providing assistance to strengthen their products and provide advice on fundraising and business pitches. Seventeen of these companies have been accredited, out of which 13 have won contracts. They will benefit from the SGD 60 million of government pipeline opportunities that have been generated to date.

Example of a company that has benefited from Accreditation@IMDA:

  • SenseInfosys is a company founded in 2013 that focuses on data fusion, analytics and fraud detection in military-grade intelligence products in the security and maritime domains. Their products enable enterprises to analyse data to gain timely and accurate insights for improving their operational processes and making more informed decisions. After SenseInfosys was accredited through the Accreditation@IMDA scheme in 2016, the company went on to win six government projects despite being a newcomer without a significant prior track record. Last year, the company successfully raised SGD 2 million from investors to help accelerate the company’s growth.

Source: Country response to OECD survey, 2017.

Government agencies help ensure that tenders are appropriately sized to give SMEs a chance to compete for them. About 90% of contracts called by the government agencies each year are below SGD 100 000 in value. There were more than 30 000 of such contracts in 2016. Only about 5% of government contracts are above SGD 1 million. For some larger products, if suitable, the government may call separate tenders for different parts of the project, giving smaller companies an opportunity to participate. Some smaller companies have also formed consortiums with others to tender for larger and more complex projects.

Online platforms have also been developed by the government in collaboration with the private sector to encourage and facilitate small players to take part in bids for government contracts. For example, GeBIZ Mall is a platform for suppliers that are interested in selling to government agencies. Through this platform, suppliers are given electronic “shelf space” to sell their goods and services. Each supplier can list ten items on their online shelf for free. Government agencies can then buy directly from these suppliers if the purchases are below SGD 5 000 or they can request for quotations. Over the last 5 years, an average of 5 000 orders per year has been placed through the platform, which amounts to approximately SGD 3.5 million per year. The government continues to encourage and promote the use of this platform among SMEs. Another platform called GovBuy allows government agencies to post small projects or tasks for IT programmers to work on. No track record is required to participate in this platform.

Labour mobility

Although labour policies and legislation are applicable to the overall workforce and do not differentiate between small and medium enterprises and other business entities, the human resource schemes introduced by the government to strengthen the labour market in Singapore are expected to help SMEs adapt to the changes in the global economy (Box 9.15). The Ministry of Manpower can also exercise temporary manpower policy adjustments during periods of transition, including allowing companies to reduce the number of work permits, use temporary foreign workers while recruiting and training locals, and pool foreign expertise at the industry level that can help foster knowledge for the local workforce.

Box 9.15. Strengthening the labour market in Singapore

P-Max programme

The P-Max programme provides funding to help SMEs better recruit, manage and retain newly-hired Singaporean citizens or permanent residents that fall under the category of professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). P-Max aims to enable SMEs to adopt progressive human resource practices through training and basic human resources (HR) toolkits.

Under this programme, SMEs will benefit from a one-time SGD 5 000 grant if they successfully implement the recommended HR processes and retain PMETs hired under the programme for at least 6 months. SMEs can concurrently receive salary support if they place and train eligible Singaporean PMETs under the Career Support Programme or Professional Conversion Programmes.

Lean Enterprise Development (LED) scheme

The LED scheme aims to help progressive SMEs transform and grow in the new manpower-lean landscape. The objective is to support SMEs that want to be pioneers and early adopters of change: becoming more productive, more innovative and more manpower-lean. This will help create stronger business growth and offer better jobs and careers to Singaporeans and permanent residents.

With the LED scheme, SMEs will be supported in:

  • Becoming more manpower-lean: higher productivity and faster innovation is essential to achieve this.

  • Building a stronger Singaporean core: the restructuring process should result in better jobs, pay and careers for Singaporeans.

  • Developing better quality workers: such employees, including foreign workers, should be more skilful and have more relevant expertise and/or experience.

Source: Country response to OECD survey, 2017.

Customs facilitation

Often in collaboration with SPRING Singapore, International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore)1 serves as the government agency that promotes international trade and supports Singapore companies in going global. Through its Plug and Play Network, Enterprise Singapore aims to ease entry for Singapore SMEs into markets such as China, India and Southeast Asia (Shafeeq, 2017[34]).

Box 9.16. Plug and Play Network (PPN) Singapore: Helping SMEs expand overseas quickly

Enterprise Singapore found that six out of ten SMEs find it challenging to find contacts or suitable partners to expand overseas. In line with this, the agency launched the Plug and Play Network (PPN) in July 2017 to provide business advisory services, business matching and market setup through co-working spaces. The PPN, with its 9 partners including consultancy forms and co-working space providers, helps SMEs access markets in more than 45 cities across China, India and Southeast Asia.

Source: Shafeeq, S. (2017), IE Singapore Sets Up Network for SMEs to Expand Overseas Quickly - The Business Times,

Various Customs-related initiatives have also been launched to address challenges faced by SMEs relating to cross-border trade. Examples include initiatives within Singapore such as TradeNet, TradeXchange, and the National Trade Platform (NTP), along with initiatives pursued together with other ASEAN countries, such as the ASEAN Single Window (Box 9.17).

Box 9.17. Customs initiatives in Singapore


TradeNet is Singapore’s National Single Window for trade declaration. Launched in January 1989, it allows various parties from the public and private sectors to exchange trade information electronically. TradeNet integrates import, export and transhipment documentation processing procedures and enables the trade and logistics communities to fulfil their trade formalities. Through TradeNet, Singapore Customs and other competent authorities monitor the movement of goods and enforce health, safety and other regulatory requirements. TradeNet reduced the cost and time to prepare, submit and process trade documents. It expedites the clearance of cargo and allows fees and taxes to be deducted electronically (Koh, 2017[35]).


TradeXchange is a neutral and secure trade platform that facilitates the exchange of information within the trade and logistics community. Launched in 2007, TradeXchange provides seamless inter-connectivity among commercial and regulatory systems for the Singapore trade and logistics community. In addition, it offers a single electronic window for integrated workflow, submissions and enquiries to the Sea Ports, Airports, Maritime Authorities, Customs and Competent Authorities. TradeXchange is a multi-agency initiative led by Singapore Customs, the Economic Development Board and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) (GovTech Singapore, 2018[36]).

National Trade Platform

Singapore is building the NTP as a trade and logistics IT ecosystem connecting businesses, community systems and platforms, and government systems. When completed, the NTP will replace TradeNet as the National Single Window for permit declaration and TradeXchange as the platform connecting trade and logistics community. As the next generation platform, the NTP will be designed as an open innovation platform, which businesses and service providers can tap on to develop new applications to support evolving business needs (Singapore Customs, 2017[37]).

Sources: Koh, J. (2017), Singapore TradeNet: Single Windows & Regional Interoperability – Trends and; GovTech Singapore (2018),  change,; Singapore Customs (28 September 2017), Building the National Trade Platform (NTP),


  • Consider adopting formal regulatory approaches, such as regulatory impact assessments (RIA), to standardise practices across ministries when conducting evaluation or assessments.

  • Consider linking existing online platforms into one portal. For example, LicenceNet can also be integrated into the GeBiz portal, as a way to ensure a single portal for all business transactions.

  • Streamline all public consultation procedures in the REACH platform and link it with efforts conducted by the Pro-Enterprise Panel. Use this as an opportunity to encourage more feedback on specific regulations or programmes and provide information on how feedback received has been used to inform future policies, especially for business-related policies.

  • Consider best practice sharing and implementation of new and innovative approaches to improving enforcement and compliance when regulating new and emerging industries, such as through the use of behavioural insights. Agencies that have already implemented or tried such approaches should share it across the government so that the public service can collectively reduce compliance costs for businesses.


[38] 3E Accounting (2017), Visa and Work Pass,

[16] 99% SME (2017), 99% SME, (accessed on 22 November 2017).

[30] ACRA (2017), Companies Act Reform, (accessed on 26 October 2017).

[28] ACRA (2015), Audit Quality Indicators Disclosure Framework,

[15] ACRA (2014), Online Services, (accessed on 26 October 2017).

[7] ACRA (2017b), BizFile, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

[18] Channel NewsAsia (2017), Regulations in Place to Ramp Up Driverless Vehicle Trials in Singapore,

[17] Choudhury, A. (2017), Google to Help Train 1,000 SME Business Leaders in Singapore,

[24] Enterprise Singapore (2018), Grants, (accessed on 14 June 2018).

[25] Enterprise Singapore (2018), Innovation and Capability Voucher,

[23] Enterprise Singapore (2018), Intellectual Property,

[21] Enterprise Singapore (2018), Standards, (accessed on 14 June 2018).

[20] Enterprise Singapore (2018), Standards Committees & Partners,

[26] Enterprise Singapore (2016), Getting Accreditation,

[11] Enterprise Singapore (2014), Accreditation,

[12] Enterprise Singapore (2014), Consumer Protection, (accessed on 14 June 2018).

[8] Government of Singapore (2017), LicenceOne, (accessed on 16 November 2017).

[32] Government of Singapore (2017), REACH, (accessed on 15 November 2017).

[3] Government of Singapore (2017), The Cabinet, (accessed on 29 November 2017).

[4] Government of Singapore (2017), The Government, (accessed on 29 November 2017).

[33] Government of Singapore (2015), Singapore Statutes Online, (accessed on 17 November 2017).

[13] GovTech (2016), eGov Masterplans,

[36] GovTech Singapore (2018), TradeXchange,

[27] Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (2017), IRAS' Focus on Taxpayer Compliance,

[35] Koh, J. (2017), Singapore TradeNet: Single Windows & Regional Interoperability - Trends and Considerations,

[29] Ministry of Finance Singapore (2017), MOF and ACRA Invite Public Feedback on Proposed Changes to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act, and Accountants Act,

[31] Ministry of Finance Singapore (2017), MOF and ACRA Publish Responses to Public Feedback on Proposed Changes to the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Act, and Accountants Act,

[22] Ministry of Law Singapore (2017), Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Local SMEs Owning Intellectual Property Rights,

[39] Ministry of Manpower (2017), Work Passes and Permits, (accessed on 22 November 2017).

[2] Ministry of Trade and Industry (2016), Media Factsheet - Industry Transformation Maps,

[10] Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Faster Approvals and Lower Requirements for Venture Capital Managers,

[9] Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Proposed Regulatory Regime for Managers of Venture Capital Funds,

[19] Monetary Authority of Singapore (2017), Understanding and Applying to the Sandbox,

[14] Municipal Services Office (2017), One Service, and Engaged Community for a Better Living Environment, (accessed on 26 October 2017).

[5] Parliament of Singapore (2017), Functions, (accessed on 25 October 2017).

[34] Shafeeq, S. (2017), IE Singapore Sets Up Network for SMEs to Expand Overseas Quickly - The Business Times,

[37] Singapore Customs (2017), Building the National Trade Platform (NTP),

[1] World Bank (2018), Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs,

[6] World Bank (2017), Law Library, (accessed on 8 March 2018).

Annex 9.A.
Annex Table 9.A.1. Business-related laws in Singapore



Banking and credit laws

Banking Act, Asian Development Bank Act, Bills of Exchange Act, Bills of Sale Act, Deposit Insurance Act 2005, Development Fund Act, Development Loan Act 1987, Development Investment Fund Act, Currency Act, Exchange Control Act, External Loans Act, Finance Companies Act, Financial Procedure Act

Bankruptcy and collateral laws

Bankruptcy Act (revised 2009)

Commercial and company laws

Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation act, Common Gaming Houses Act, Companies Act, Competition Act, Co-operative Societies Act, Copyright Act, Corrosive and Explosive Substance and Offensive Weapons Act, Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act, Consumer Protection (Trade Descriptions and Safety Requirements) Act, Contact Lens Practitioners Act, Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act, Control of Essential Supplies Act, Control of Manufacture Act, Control of Plants Act, Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act, Defamation Act, Dentists Act, Employment Agencies Act, Distress Act, District Cooling Act, Economic Development Board Act, Environmental Pollution Control Act. Electrical Workers and Contractors Licensing Act, Electronic Transactions Act, Energy Market Authority of Singapore Act, Factories Act, Feeding Stuffs Act. Dangerous Fireworks Act, Hire-Purchase Act, Free Trade Zones Act, Frustrated Contracts Act, Gas Act, Geographical Indications Act, Fire Safety Act, Fisheries Act, Explosive Substances Act, Films Act, Apportionment Act, Apportionment of Rents Act, Appraisers and House Agents Act, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority Act., Air Navigation Act, Animals and Birds Act, Sale of Goods (United Nations Convention) Act, Trust Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnerships Acts 2005, Sale of Commercial Properties Act, Architects Act, Arms and Explosives Act, Accountants Act, Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Act, Biological Agents and Toxins Act 2005, Boundaries and Survey Maps Act, Bretton Woods Agreement Act, Broadcasting Act, Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act, Chit Funds Act, Cinematograph Film Fire Duty Act, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act, Betting Act, Betting and Sweepstakes Duty Act, Business Registration Act, Business Trusts Act, Carriage by Air Act., Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, Casino Control Act 2006, Cattle Act, Central Provident Fund Act, Charities Act, Companies Act (revised 2014)

Labour law

Employment Agencies Act, Employment of Foreign Workers Act, Employment Act, Central Provident Fund Act, Industrial Relations Act, Workmen’s Compensation Act. Workplace Safety and Health Act 2006, Trade Disputes Act, Trade Unions Act. Tripartite Guidelines on Mandatory Retrenchment Notification

Land and building laws

Land Acquisition Act, Land Revenue Collection Act, Land Surveyors Act, Land Titles (Strata Act), Land Titles Act, Sale of Commercial Properties Act, Property Tax (Surcharge) Act, Property Tax Act, Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act, Building and Construction Authority Act, Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, Building Control Act, Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act 2004, Executive Condominium Housing Scheme Act, Foreshores Act, Conveyancing and Law of Property Act, Workplace Safety and Health Act 2006

Securities laws

Commodity Trading Act, Financial Advisers Act, Futures Trading Act, Government Securities Act, Exchanges (Demutualization and Merger) Act, Securities and Futures Act, Trustees Act

Tax laws

Stamp Duties Act, Property Tax Act, Property Tax (Surcharge) Act, Internal Revenue of Singapore Act, Audit act, Charities Act, Goods and Services Tax Act, Fees Act, Entertainment Duty Act, Estate Duty Act, Income Tax Act, Economic Expansion Incentives (Relief from Income Tax) Act

Trade laws

Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 2006, Customs Act, Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Duties Act, Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import, and Transit) Act, Geographical Indications Act, Foreshores Act, Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, Merchant Shipping Act, Registration of Deeds Act, Regulation of Imports and Exports Act

Insolvency law

Companies Act 2017

Source: World Bank (2017), Law Library, (accessed 8 March 2018).


← 1. With effect from 1 April 2018, Enterprise Singapore would serve as the agency which promotes international trade and supports Singapore to go global.