74,000 applications for business licences recorded

KOTA KINABALU: The Business Licensing Electronic Support System (Bless) recorded over 74,000 applications for business licences last year.

Bless is a portal that provides information and facilities for companies to apply for licences or permits to start operating businesses in Malaysia.

Director-general of the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU), Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Ahmad Zaki Ansore Mohd Yusof said the system had recorded 81,344 transactions for business licence applications in 2016 and 74,069 applications in 2017.

He said the amount of transactions was expected to rise in line with efforts to increase the number of licences from 214 to 285 by the end of 2018.

In Sabah, Ahmad Zaki said the SMECorp portal recorded 56,200 businesses as of 2016, while 21,648 businesses  registered as users of Bless.

He said the government had set up Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) on February 7, 2007 to work with the business sector in providing customer centric, innovative and faster services to ensure the country could compete globally.

He said various initiatives had been implemented since the inception of Pemudah including abolishing irrelevant acts and regulations, improve the delivery system of the civil service and develop Bless.

” Bless has successfully transformed the difficult and time-consuming process of applying and obtaining approval of licences through a single window to an online platform which involves a shorter approval time,” he said when officiating at the state-level Business Licence Outreach programme here yesterday. The programme provides an opportunity for the business community in Sabah to meet with licensing authorities for assistance and advice on the licensing requirements for their businesses.

To improve licensing, Ahmad Zaki said the government had re-engineered and reduced the number of business licences from 767 by 41 per cent to 454, while 29 licences had been abolished at the federal level.

At the state level, he said the 2,659 business licences were reduced to 1,915, marking a decrease of 28 per cent.

Ahmad Zaki said the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as in Malaysia, only contributed around 18 per cent to our country’s export and 36 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The target is for SMEs to contribute at least 41 per cent to our nation’s GDP by 2020.”

On another note, Ahmad Zaki said Malaysia was still experiencing encouraging economic growth amid the uncertain global economic climate.

He said the World Bank’s report showed our country’s GDP at 5.9 per cent compared to the projected 4.3 per cent last year.

He added that Malaysia was also ranked 23rd out of the 190 economies in terms of  ease of doing business based on the World Bank Doing Business Report 2017.

However, Ahmad Zaki said not everyone would agree that Malaysia’s economy could claim to have achieved its steady position and benefit the people especially the bottom 40 per cent of the income group from evaluating from only the GDP perspective.

“Many believe that it does not reflect other parts of concerns – what people face on a daily basis, the standard of living, income and wealth distribution, employment opportunities and quality of life.”

He said GDP was the basic and fundamental indicator to measure economic performance of a country.

He said the government had implemented inclusive measures to help the B40 and M40 as mentioned in the budget tabled by the Prime Minister in October last year.

He said the government was also focusing on mega projects such as the Pan Borneo Highway which would benefit the people through job creation, business opportunities and improve their quality of life.

Ahmad Zaki said the government had also outlined special and inclusive agenda for the business community.

“As per the SME Development Plan 2017-2020, the government is committed in creating friendly business environment, providing  support and continue to assist the business community,” he said.

Also present were Sabah Federal Secretary Datuk Nor Rizan bin Mohd Thani, ICU Sabah development officer Dato Ruji Ubi and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Development Datuk Hashim Paijan.

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