17 February 2009 - Speech by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and The Arts, At The Launch of IDA International, Conrad Centennial Singapore
Speech By Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts, At The Launch Of IDA International On 17 February 2009 (Tuesday), 5.30pm At Conrad Centennial Singapore
Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman of IDA International
Mr Seah Chin Siong, Chief Executive Officer of IDA International
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am very pleased to be here today to witness the launch of IDA International. Recently in Parliament, I said that the Government is committed to helping our infocomm enterprises ride the economic downturn and build up their capabilities. It is important for the infocomm sector to emerge from the recession fitter and stronger with more capabilities to tap new opportunities. The launch of IDA International is an additional way for Government to help infocomm enterprises. IDA International is a wholly owned subsidiary of IDA Singapore. Its mission is to help our infocomm companies gain access to new markets overseas and work with them to tap opportunities for new business despite the troubled times.
Infocomm and the Economic Downturn
2. The infocomm industry has not escaped the effects of the recession. Gartner has halved its global IT spending growth projection to 2.3% for 2009. Reports from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that growth in the coming year is likely to remain flat or even decline. The going will be quite tough under such circumstances.
3. Nevertheless, infocomm continues to be a significant industry sector globally. It contributes significantly to the key operations of governments, citizens and businesses in most developed countries. At the same time, emerging economies are also realising the power of infocomm to raise living standards and generate economic growth. So if we are innovative and work hard, we should be able to tap into such opportunities.
Singapore's Journey towards Public Infocomm Excellence
4. Our Government had embarked on tapping the power of infocomm almost thirty years ago. Today, Singapore is recognized worldwide as a leader in the use of infocomm to deliver better services to the public and businesses.
5. Being an early adopter of infocomm technology has benefited Singapore enormously. For instance, TradeNet and its successor (TradeXchange), e-filing for income tax returns and BizFile for online registering of a new business have all had major impact and brought huge benefits to the Singaporeans and the business community.
6. We have built up a strong track record of successfully implementing our National Infocomm and eGovernment programmes. As a result, we have been consistently ranked among the top nations in the world for eGovernment. In 2007, for instance, we ranked first and second respectively in Accenture and Brown University’s eGovernment studies.
7. Our achievements in eGovernment services are highly regarded by many countries. They see Singapore, with our wealth of experience, tested capabilities and proven solutions for a wide range of applications, as a good partner for their own infocomm plans.
8. Hence, we have attracted increasing attention from public agencies of many countries. They share the same interest to develop their own eGovernment programmes. They are keen to work with us. Several have indicated that they want to leverage on our experience and expertise in masterplanning and implementing eGovernment solutions. By working with us, they hope to shorten the learning curve to achieve their own infocomm goals. We have and will continue to collaborate with all interested parties and help them achieve their goals.
9. Such interest also represents business opportunities for our infocomm enterprises, especially those that have been at the forefront of developing solutions for our e-Government services. Hence we would like to translate these collaborations into business opportunities for our infocomm companies. Our hope is for Singapore infocomm companies to also play significant roles in rolling out infocomm programmes in countries which see benefits in adopting the Singapore model.
10. One key strategic thrust of the iN2015 masterplan is to develop a globally competitive infocomm industry and extend the reach of our infocomm enterprises beyond the local market. IDA International is an important initiative towards the realisation of this goal.
11. IDA has established IDA International as the primary vehicle for collaborations with foreign governments in public service infocomm. IDA International will work with Singapore infocomm enterprises and interested foreign government agencies to provide them with the necessary expertise, know-how and services to enable them to achieve their national infocomm objectives.
Progress of IDA International and Project Pipelines
12. So far, Singapore has established several government-to-government infocomm collaborations with countries from all regions in the world. These include Brunei in Southeast Asia; Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain in the Middle East; South Africa; as well as Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago in the Americas. Their interests span across different public sector services. IDA International is currently in discussions with some of these governments on areas for collaboration, in partnership with our infocomm local enterprises.
13. The opportunities look promising for our local Infocomm companies. They have built up their expertise and solutions over the years in Singapore. I am very pleased to note that our local infocomm companies such as ST Electronics, NCS, Ecquaria, Infowave, Eucharist, SQLView, Netrust and Elixir have all expressed interest in partnering IDA International to venture into the overseas markets.
14. I am confident that the establishment of IDA International will help our infocomm companies extend their reach to new markets overseas. I would like to encourage all local infocomm enterprises to explore possible collaboration with IDA International and tap on the Government’s resources to help grow their businesses overseas. We can work together to seize the opportunities that are still available in these difficult times, and at the same time prepare ourselves to move ahead even faster when the world economy recovers.
15. On this note, I would like to thank the guests who have taken valuable time off to attend today’s launch and wish you a successful year ahead in your business endeavours.
16. Thank you.