F&B owners can take an online quiz on the portal to identify what licenses are needed, and will be guided on how to apply for the relevant licenses.

Published 2019-10-02 11:01:24

Food and beverage (F&B) businesses have to go through a lot of red tape to obtain licenses for opening new shops or restaurants.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore have teamed up to develop an online portal to help ease this process, and is slated to launch on October 31.

Called the GoBusiness Licensing Portal, it will shorten the process by up to 14 days as owners no longer need to apply for various licenses separately across multiple government agencies.

The one-stop portal also helps to simplify the confusing process as information is typically spread out across different government agency websites, which is extremely helpful especially for first-time F&B business owners.

Owners can take an online questionnaire on the portal to identify what licenses are needed (for instance, alcohol or entertainment licenses), and will be given a step-by-step guidance on how to apply for the relevant licenses.

Currently, owners have to fill in up to 845 data fields across 14 forms required by the different agencies. With this new portal, they will only have to fill in one form with no more than 90 data fields.

“The portal is actually a review exercise to look at our licensing processes from the point of view of businesses and companies and make (the processes) simpler, better and faster,” said Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

“We started with food because it’s a sector which has many players and also the rules are quite complex. I’m happy with the outcome and now it’s about how we can extend this same approach to other areas.”

Moving forward, the portal developers will be creating another one for the retail and environment services sectors, which also have many players and complex regulatory requirements.

Featured Image Credit: Screenshot from Ministry of Trade and Industry’s YouTube video

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