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NCB Annual Report FY97/98

The National Computer Board (NCB) released its Annual Report FY97/98 today. Addressing the regional economic slowdown and the measures that Singapore can take to face the challenging years ahead, Mr Lim Swee ...

Singapore, 15 October 1998 | For Immediate Release

The National Computer Board (NCB) released its Annual Report FY97/98 today. Addressing the regional economic slowdown and the measures that Singapore can take to face the challenging years ahead, Mr Lim Swee Say, the board's chairman until August 1998, said: "What we are doing in Singapore is to turn this period of economic slowdown into an opportunity for future growth. Instead of lying down, we must strive ahead, so that we will emerge from this regional crisis stronger and ever more competitive."

This involves helping Singapore make the transition into a knowledge- based economy and information society. "At the same time, we should widen our Information Technology (IT) lead over our competitors to strengthen our position as a global IT hub in the Asia-Pacific", he added.

Mr Lim forsees that Singapore will not slow in the regional crisis. "On the contrary, Singapore will strive to run even faster during this economic crisis slowdown. We have the vision, the strategies, the expertise, and the resources to surge ahead. Most of all, we have the will to succeed."

To realise the IT2000 vision of transforming Singapore into an Intelligent Island and Connected City, the NCB continued to roll out several key projects under its five strategic thrusts.

a) Growing a Connected Government

The NCB works to connect Singapore and the government to realise new levels of productivity and a more responsive public service. Some of the major projects carried out during the year include the upgrading of the Government Information Infrastructure and the deployment of Internet technology to make electronic government services more convenient for the public. Through other initiatives like the Government Call Centre, the NCB hopes to help realise the PS21 vision of service excellence in the public sector.

b) Seeding IT2000 Flagship Projects

The NCB partners the IT industry to deploy strategic applications that will change the way we work, do business, study and play, to bring about quantum gains. A total of $45 million had been committed under the IT Cluster Development Fund as of 31 March 1998 to support 40 projects in areas such as education, healthcare, libraries and information services, manufacturing and distribution. Through these flagship applications, the NCB hopes to position Singapore as a global IT and innovation hub in the knowledge economy.

c) Rooting a National Information Infrastructure

The NCB works to accelerate the building of a national information infrastructure that will make Singapore the Intelligent Island and Connected City. At the heart of this is Singapore ONE - the world's first nationwide highspeed, multimedia broadband network. A total of 110 broadband multimedia applications were available in 8,000 homes by March 1998. Since then, Singapore ONE connections have also been established in schools, tertiary institutes, libraries and community centres.

d) Nurturing the IT Industry

To achieve a vibrant IT industry that is responsive to the ever-changing needs of the global information economy, the NCB encouraged innovation, stepped up efforts to encourage more MNCs to locate their high value-added, software product development activities in Singapore and focused on upgrading the capabilities of local companies. It also set up a $50 million IT and Multimedia Co-investment Fund to invest in technology companies overseas and to transfer technology to Singapore.

e) Planting an IT Culture

The NCB works to make IT an integral part of the lives of the citizens of the Intelligent Island. Some key projects that were set up during the year were Computer Roadshows, Singapore ONE Clubs in community centres and the Hall of IT at the Singapore Science Centre.

To accomplish its task of mapping the future of an IT-rich Singapore, the NCB continued to focus on achieving continuous improvement. Major developments include:

a) Shift of the NCB from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Trade and Industry on 1 April 1997

This was to enable the NCB to work more closely with other economic promotion agencies under MTI.

b) Changes to the NCB Organisation Structure in May 1998

These changes, together with senior management appointments, were in support of new thrusts identified to develop Singapore as a vibrant and robust global IT, innovation and knowledge hub.