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Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) will spend up to an estimated S$3.8 billion on info-communications technology (ICT) procurement this year, an almost 10 per cent increase from FY20’s procurement value of S$3.5 billion.

This spending will go towards transforming government digital services used by both citizens and businesses, and re-engineering government digital infrastructure to support modern application development. It will build on the momentum generated by past years’ investments and serve to lock in the digitalisation gains brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be able to participate in close to 83 per cent of the total potential procurement opportunities.

Transforming government digital services for the future

An estimated S$2.7 billion (70 per cent out of S$3.8 billion) will be spent on 250 projects to transform, integrate and streamline digital services across different sectors to create a more digitally empowered nation.

Of the S$2.7 billion expected to be spent on digital application services, 44 per cent will be developed on the cloud in FY21. Developing applications on the cloud increases agility and innovation, resulting in faster delivery of new public services for citizens and businesses. In addition, leveraging on cloud infrastructure increases resiliency and scalability, leading to better performance during periods of high demand. To date, the government has close to 600 systems on cloud and is on track to have 70 per cent of eligible systems on the cloud by FY2023.

Number of Artificial Intelligence projects to increase

Over S$500 million (13 per cent out of S$3.8 billion) will be spent to accelerate the adoption and deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the public sector. AI can help the Government to deliver better services, make better decisions based on data- driven insights, and optimise operations to increase productivity. To support government agencies in deploying AI, GovTech has built various central platforms to support common use cases in the area of video analytics, natural language processing, fraud analytics and personalisation to help agencies reduce the cost of onboarding AI solutions. The central platforms also enable agencies to access common features and enjoy lower cost of management, maintenance and updating of systems.

More projects for SMEs to participate in Govt ICT procurement

The increase in ICT procurement spending will create more opportunities for SMEs, with more than 80 per cent of ICT contracts to be made available through streamlined procurement methods. These procurement methods will improve SMEs’ access to Government ICT procurement opportunities. For instance, the government has incorporated dynamic contracting in bulk tenders to allow new suppliers and requirements to be introduced throughout a contract period. Barriers of entry for SMEs are also lowered as government agencies put out more cloud-based services and smaller system projects that allow suppliers with a lower financial grading to bid.

Mr Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive, GovTech, said: “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. 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. 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.”