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Helpdesk for Businesses Set up for Enquiries on E-Commerce Policies


Single contact point provided by the NCB aims to smoothen the path for companies embarking on e-commerce by clarifying related policy issues. 1 The government has set up an E-Commerce Business Policy ...

Single Contact Point Provided by the NCB Aims to Smoothen the Path for Companies Embarking on E-Commerce by Clarifying Related Policy Issues.

1. The government has set up an E-Commerce Business Policy Helpdesk for businesses seeking clarifications on policies relating to electronic commerce (e-commerce). The aim is to provide companies planning to establish on-line businesses in Singapore with timely information and one-stop assistance on e-commerce policies .

2. E-Commerce spans many aspects of trade and business. Various policies and agencies are involved. The E-Commerce Business Policy Helpdesk aims to leverage on existing policy and regulatory channels to provide a one-stop, focused and coordinated front to businesses in clarifying related policy and regulatory issues. It aims to create greater awareness among businesses on the policy and legal framework and environment surrounding e-commerce. The helpdesk, however, is not intended to advise businesses and members of the public on specific legal issues.

3. In line with its role as the lead agency for e-commerce, the National Computer Board (NCB), under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, will lead in the operation of this helpdesk. It will work closely with relevant sectoral lead agencies and regulatory bodies in the public sector. Its partners include the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC), Economic Development Board (EDB), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Law (MinLaw), Ministry of Information & the Arts (MITA), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA), Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS), and Singapore Trade Development Board (TDB). Others will be co-opted as needed.

4. Mr Michael Yap, Chief Executive of the NCB, said, "A trusted, clear and predictable regulatory environment is a pre-requisite to the rapid take-off of e-commerce. The helpdesk will work together with local as well as international companies to overcome potential challenges in these early days of e-commerce development, by clarifying related regulatory issues. This is in line with Singapore's commitment to become a global hub for e-commerce activity and to drive the pervasive adoption of e-commerce by the industry."

5. The helpdesk will undertake the following functions:

- Handle enquiries from businesses on e-commerce policies and regulations, and provide clarification on existing policy positions.

- Educate the local industry, potential international partners, and the public about these regulations, to support Singapore's commitment to create a conducive legal and policy environment for e-commerce.

- Work with relevant regulatory agencies and international bodies to clarify policy issues.

- Alert and consult with relevant regulatory agencies to see if existing policies need to be updated so that they do not impede the development of e-commerce.

- Communicate resulting policy positions to the industry and public. Leverage on existing industry communication channels and associations to reach out to the industry.

- Convey the latest developments in e-commerce policies and regulations to relevant sectoral lead agencies.

- Consolidate the intelligence through case studies of actual policy difficulties faced by companies doing e-commerce, identify regulatory issues that may cause hurdles and impede e-commerce adoption or investment, and share the experience in the resolution of such policy issues.

6. Companies may pose their enquiries to the E-Commerce Business Policy Helpdesk via email:, or fax: 7735270. More information on the helpdesk, as well as the e-commerce policies and regulations in Singapore, is available on the website:

Released by: Corporate Communication Department
National Computer Board.

Note to Editors:

The role of the E-Commerce Business Policy Helpdesk is to clarify policies and regulations related to e-commerce. It does not address consumer grievances and related issues as these are being sufficiently handled by existing mechanisms.


The National Computer Board (NCB) and the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) will be merged into a new statutory board, under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), by the end of 1999.

The merger of the NCB and TAS is in recognition of the convergence of IT and communications technologies and businesses, and the need for an integrated perspective to promotion, development and regulation across these technologies and businesses.

The new board will be responsible for the growth and development of the IT and telecom industries in Singapore. Until the new board is constituted, NCB and TAS will continue to perform their existing roles and functions as two separate legal entities.