Singapore Increasing ICT Spending To Accelerate Digitalisation

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

The Singapore government is increasing spending on info-communications technology (ICT) procurement for the fiscal year 2021 (FY2021), which will go towards transforming the digital services that are used by citizens and businesses alike and re-engineer the government’s digital infrastructure.

Singapore Smart City

Credit: Singapore Global Network

This year’s procurement value will reach an estimated S$3.8 billion, an almost 10 per cent increase from last year’s S$3.5 billion, as announced by the government on Wednesday, 23 June. It will build upon previous years’ investments and take advantage of the digitalisation gains brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Approximately S$2.7 billion, or about 70 per cent, will be spent on transforming digital services across different sectors. One such example is leveraging the use of data and digital technology in the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s new national business registry and regulatory system, which will help to anticipate businesses’ needs and improve regulatory compliance.

LifeSG App

Credit: Government Technology Agency of Singapore

Additionally, GovTech’s LifeSG app will be streamlining how users can avail government services and benefits through a personalised dashboard containing appointments with government agencies, along with consolidated information on support. The app’s Eligibility Checker, which directs users to government assistance, and the personalisation engine will also receive improvements.


The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGO)’s GoBusiness platform will be updated to provide personalised assistance to new and existing businesses.


Part of the S$2.7 billion will also go towards developing apps that make availing certain services much faster. These include an electronic online case filing and management system for the State Courts’ Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS), SmartGym, an app that captures workout data on the ActiveSG app, as well as SG Cares Digital Kampong, an app that connects donors and volunteers to beneficiaries.


Up to 44 per cent of these apps will be developed on the cloud in 2021, cutting down delivery time, upping performance during periods of high demand and making scaling easier in the future. The government currently has about 600 systems on the cloud and it is on track to have 70 per cent of its eligible systems in the cloud by FY2023.


To help in the digitalisation process, the government will be investing S$100 million into the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SG Tech Stack) in the next two years. SG Tech Stack is a platform for agencies to build their digital applications on.


What’s more, over S$500 million will be spent on the adoption and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) for the public sector. AI can optimise certain operations through automation and share data-driven insights. GovTech will help facilitate its deployment using its various platforms to support common use cases in areas of video analytics and natural language processing, among others, reducing the overall costs that agencies have to pay for.


The Ministry of Education (MOE), for example, is developing an AI solution that can automatically mark as well as provide all upper primary and secondary students with quick and actionable feedback on their English language writing. It will be delivered through the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) platform and the analytics data gathered by the AI can be used by students and teachers to track learning progress.


The government said that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible to participate in close to 83 per cent of the total procurement opportunities. These opportunities boast a low barrier of entry for SMEs as many of them are cloud-based services and smaller system projects. The government will also offer bulk tenders for dynamic contracts.

Phone User Stock Photo

Credit: Envato

In line with these announcements, the government shared that the satisfaction of both citizens and businesses with its digital services remained high. According to the Government to Citizens (G2C) and Government to Business (G2B) surveys, 85 per cent of citizens and 76% of businesses surveyed were very or extremely satisfied in 2020.


The satisfaction ratings of the government’s response to COVID-19 also proved to be high, with 97 per cent of citizens saying that the digital solutions during the pandemic were delivered in a timely manner. 94 per cent of business respondents, meanwhile, indicated that the digital solutions provided timely and accurate information.


“We are heartened by the results of the G2C and G2B annual survey on Government Digital Services, which are an affirmation of the government’s commitment to invest heavily in ICT and digital transformation,” said Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive of GovTech.


“Providing more opportunities for SMEs to take on government projects is also important, as SMEs have always been the lifeblood of Singapore, and form a key pillar of our Smart Nation efforts,” he added.


The government will share more details on the key digitalisation focuses and areas of projected spending via an online content series and a LinkedIn live chat on 30 June 2021.

 

Written by Kyle Chua

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