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Remaking Singapore as a Global-Asia Node of Technology, Innovation, and Enterprise

Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat, delivered a Ministerial Statement yesterday, Mon 5 Oct 2020.

He spoke on how the Government has rolled out a decisive set of crisis management measures to minimise and cushion the economic impact, preserve jobs and capabilities, and support households during the Pandemic.

He spoke of a Supplementary Supply Bill, which provides for the resources to implement the measures announced in August, for debate in Parliament to further support the nation.

The Deputy Prime Minister also focused for some time on the importance of digitalisation and the steps the Government would be implementing in order to develop Singapore as a Global-Asia node of Technology, Innovation and Enterprise.

“We will accelerate the build-up of digital capabilities, which will be a game-changer for Singapore’s connectivity with Asia and the world. Digital payments and data facilitate physical trade. It makes the exchange of varied goods and services more efficient, opens up new possibilities, and strengthens our value proposition as trading node.”

Government Digitalisation Efforts This Year

The Government has enhanced Singapore’s digital connectivity by opening up new markets and opportunities for businesses. They have made Digital Economy Agreements with Australia, Chile, and New Zealand, and have ongoing talks with South Korea. These agreements establish common frameworks and rules for digital trade, enabling Singaporean businesses, especially SMEs, to access international markets more easily.

As part of the Industry Transformation Map work, the Singapore government are helping firms to make full use of digital technology.

Since January this year, businesses have embarked on over 27,000 projects to improve their productivity and build new capabilities through the Productivity Solutions Grant and the Enterprise Development Grant schemes.

The Minister said that “The experience of businesses shows that digitalisation is a strategic capability to unlock growth, evolve their models to harness digital possibilities, and to integrate processes such as logistics, payment, and marketing.”

“We will press on with our ITM work, which helps businesses big and small, to transform holistically, bringing together the different aspects needed to upgrade. A key priority for us now is to build on this momentum and bring digitalisation to our heartlands. Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Minister of State Low Yen Ling will be announcing further plans for heartland enterprises in the coming days.”

New five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise plan for Singapore

The Government will unveil a new five-year Research, Innovation and Enterprise, or RIE plan in December. The plan will build on earlier investments and enhance research to support areas of national priority, such as early childhood development, lifelong learning, and keeping seniors healthy.

The Government also aims to expand the transformation of the manufacturing, aviation and maritime sectors, and deepen its capabilities as a Smart Nation and sustainable society.

It hopes to also position Singapore as a global intellectual property centre in Asia.

“A major effort will be to integrate the work of the Future Economy Council and our RIE plan, so as to accelerate our transformation into an innovation-led economy, powered by technology. In this way, our businesses can be more competitive, and our workers can have better job prospects.

Promoting the Open Innovation Network

We are also promoting the Open Innovation Network, an online platform which brings problem owners and problem-solvers together to create industry-led solutions.

Since 2017, a total of close to $13 million in grant and prize monies has been awarded to firms with viable solutions to deploy and scale their ideas under Enterprise Singapore’s Gov-PACT and IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform. This year there have been two rounds of National Innovation Challenges.

He concluded on this topic by saying “we are making good progress in our move to position Singapore as a Global-Asia node of technology, innovation, and enterprise. By enhancing our connectivity and making innovation pervasive, we can better meet the challenges of a post-COVID world, and create good jobs and a brighter future for all Singaporeans.”

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