Boost for Smart Nation push with agencies under one roof

A man making a purchase at Uniqlo fashion store in One Raffles Place using Apple Pay with his iPhone 6s Plus.
A man making a purchase at Uniqlo fashion store in One Raffles Place using Apple Pay with his iPhone 6s Plus.PHOTO: ST FILE

HANOI • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hopes the move to bring various agencies and units dealing with technology under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) will lead to faster, better results in Singapore's push to be a Smart Nation.

"You must have the right degree of centralisation to be able to make things happen, and to be able to coordinate tightly," he said yesterday in response to a question by Singapore reporters in Hanoi.

Various agencies and units have been driving the Government's digital transformation efforts, though every ministry and government agency is involved.

On Monday, the PMO announced that the Government Technology Agency - under the Ministry of Communications and Information - and two technology planning units would come under the office from May 1.

A new Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, overseen by a ministerial committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, has also been formed.

BETTER COORDINATION

This way, we will be able to do it more efficiently and with greater results. Otherwise, we are trying very hard, but we are not as tightly coordinated as we could be, and it is frustrating.

PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG, on the formation of the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group.

This came after Mr Lee lamented last month at a technology summit that Singapore was not moving as fast as it should on the digital front.

Yesterday, Mr Lee said that while Singapore is very digitalised in some aspects, it has lagged behind in other areas, such as smart payments, digital identity, and using IT for transport systems, compared to other cities.

There is also a lot of room to strengthen and grow the systems that the Government uses to serve the public better, he said.

The reorganisation will bring the Government's efforts "more tightly together", he added.

"This way, we will be able to do it more efficiently and with greater results. Otherwise, we are trying very hard, but we are not as tightly coordinated as we could be, and it is frustrating."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Boost for Smart Nation push with agencies under one roof'. Print Edition | Subscribe