SINGAPORE: Government agencies International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and SPRING will merge and form a new agency to help companies grow and internationalise, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tuesday (Sep 5).
The merged agency, named Enterprise Singapore, will be officially set up by the second quarter of next year. It will be led by the ministry's Second Permanent Secretary Png Cheong Boon.
"By integrating the resources and capabilities of IE Singapore and SPRING, Enterprise Singapore will be able to better address the needs of Singapore companies and strengthen their competitiveness," MTI said in a media release.
A total of 960 employees will be affected, but no retrenchments are expected, MTI said. “This is not a downsizing exercise, and we do not expect any retrenchments. Instead, there will be new roles, expanded job scopes and more opportunities for staff,” a ministry spokesperson said.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran stressed that the merger was "not about downsizing or rationalising", but that it would lead to different job scopes for employees.
“In the process, it is inevitable that job scopes will have to change, not everyone will be doing the same thing that they were doing before. There will have to be some element of retraining and adaptation, this is something that the agencies and government are fully committed to,” he said.
The merged agency will work at developing more streamlined and comprehensive assistance programmes for companies. Efforts are also ongoing to simplify schemes for companies with different needs across various industries.
Enterprise Singapore will also continue to be the lead agency for trade promotion, support the internationalisation needs of large companies and retain its role as the national body for standardisation, accreditation and legal metrology.
The consumer protection function under SPRING will be transferred to the Competition Commission of Singapore by the second quarter of 2018. This will consolidate the work of safeguarding fair trading and competition in a single agency, MTI said.
Mr Iswaran said in a statement: “As a key enabler, government agencies must also evolve and reorganise as needed, to better support our businesses and prepare them for the future economy.
“The decision to move now and establish Enterprise Singapore will enable us to respond faster to the changes in the external environment, provide better, more seamless and effective support to our companies and industries and grow stronger Singapore enterprises.”
BUSINESSES WELCOME IE SINGAPORE, SPRING MERGER
Meanwhile, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) both said they welcomed the merger and looked forward to working with the new agency.
SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng said that through this one-agency approach, SMEs would get the "support and guidance" that they need.
ASME president Kurt Wee agreed and said that the merger would “bring about a one-stop synergy for SMEs" which would improve convenience.
The association also welcomed Mr Png's appointment as chief executive-designate of Enterprise Singapore.
“Mr Png has worked closely with SMEs over the last two decades. His distinctive service as the former chief executive of SPRING Singapore and subsequently Jurong Town Corporation will go its way to ensure a successful integration of the two important agencies, whilst also preserving the strengths and deep knowledge of each one,” ASME said.