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Singapore Budget 2014: Procurement specialist track for public service by September

A new procurement specialist track to professionalise the buying of goods and services for the public sector will be launched by September.

"This will send a clear signal to more than 2,000 procurement officers across the public service of our commitment towards their capability development," Senior Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo said in Parliament on Friday.

With the launch, there will be more structured development opportunities and career pathways for procurement officers.

The procurement competency and training framework will also be enhanced.

Currently, all procurement officers undergo mandatory basic training on Government procurement principles and rules.

They will soon have to undergo mandatory continuous training as well, to ensure that skills are deepened as the procurement officers progress in their career.

Besides developing the capabilities of individual procurement officers, Ms Teo added that the Government can build up expertise in specific domains and share it across agencies.

"For instance, IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) will deepen its expertise in developing complex IT systems, agile digital services and data science," she said during the debate on the Finance Ministry's budget.

"This will help other agencies tapping on IDA's expertise to procure the right technologies that will improve service delivery and policy implementation."

Ms Teo also shared with MPs that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have had good access to Government procurement.

Last year, about 80 per cent of all Government tenders - contracts valued above $70,000 - were awarded to SMEs. In terms of contract value, this was about 50 per cent of contracts awarded by the Government.

SMEs were successful in tendering for "fairly sizeable" projects, Ms Teo added.

Among the 1105 tender contracts valued between $1 million to $50 million called last year, SMEs won 872, or about 80 per cent.

In the construction sector, SMEs clinched 19 of the 31 construction or 60 per cent of contracts valued between $50 million and $100 million last year.

"However, there is scope to help SMEs, in particular smaller SMEs, take on more or larger projects," Ms Teo said.

"For instance, in the IT and telecommunication sector, SMEs won 60 per cent of the tenders awarded which collectively accounted for 40 per cent of the total contract value.

"We intend to do more to focus our help to nurture Singapore tech start-ups in the IT sector and at the same time achieve better outcomes for the Government."

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