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Singapore to increase spending on ICT to S$3.8 billion; more projects for SMEs

SINGAPORE: Singapore will spend an estimated S$3.8 billion on the procurement of information and communications technology (ICT) this financial year, up nearly 10 per cent from a year ago, said the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) on Wednesday (Jun 23).

The projected spending will go towards transforming the Government’s digital services and digital infrastructure.

It will build on the momentum generated by previous investments and “lock in the digitalisation gains brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the lead agency behind the public sector’s digital transformation in its press release.

READ: New academy to offer public service officers more digital skills training

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will also get more opportunities. They will be able to participate in nearly 83 per cent of these procurement contracts, said GovTech.

BREAKDOWN IN SPENDING

About 70 per cent or S$2.7 billion will be spent on 250 projects to “transform, integrate and streamline” digital services used by both citizens and businesses across different sectors.

They include a new national business registry and regulatory system under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority that will use data and digital technology to deliver a seamless service and improve regulatory compliance.

Of the S$2.7 billion, nearly half (44 per cent) will go to developing digital services on the cloud.

Doing so “increases agility and innovation” which can result in faster delivery of new public services for citizens and businesses, GovTech said. Leveraging cloud infrastructure also raises “resiliency and scalability, leading to better performance during periods of high demand”, it added.

READ: New initiatives announced to help Singapore companies go digital

The Government already has nearly 600 systems on the cloud, according to Wednesday’s press release. It is “on track” to achieve its goal of having 70 per cent of eligible information technology systems on the cloud by financial year 2023.

More than S$100 million will also be invested into the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SG Tech Stack) – a centralised platform that allows agencies to tap on a suite of digital tools and services – over the next two years to further support modern application development.

“SG Tech Stack will streamline and simplify the software development process, helping government agencies to accelerate their modernisation and digitalisation plans,” GovTech said.

Meanwhile, around 13 per cent of the estimated spending for this financial year will go to ramping up the adoption and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) for the public sector.

This is estimated to be more than S$500 million.

READ: Bring Singaporeans back home, grow local talent for Smart Nation efforts: Vivian Balakrishnan

MORE PROJECTS FOR SMES

The agency also said that more than 80 per cent of the ICT contracts will be made easily available for SMEs through “streamlined procurement methods”.

For instance, “dynamic contracting” has been incorporated into bulk tenders to allow new suppliers and requirements to be introduced throughout a contract period.

Government agencies will also put out more cloud-based services and smaller system projects that allow suppliers with a lower financial grading to bid. This lowers the barrier of entry for SMEs, it added.

Describing SMEs as “the lifeblood of Singapore” and a “key pillar” in the country’s Smart Nation efforts, GovTech’s chief executive Kok Ping Soon said it is important to provide SMEs with more opportunities to take on government projects.

“GovTech will continue to innovate to provide seamless and easy-to-use services and improve the resilience and security of our digital platforms for citizens, businesses and public officers,” he added.

Source: CNA/sk(ac)

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