Sustainable infrastructure even more vital in a post-Covid world: Indranee

The pandemic calls for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors, Ms Indranee Rajah said. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The pandemic has highlighted the crucial importance of infrastructure in areas like sanitation, but building projects will require more funding from non-governmental sources, said Ms Indranee Rajah on Friday ( July 17).

Ms Indranee, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance, told a webinar that working with multilateral development banks and adopting new technology will be part of the solution.

"The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of cities' infrastructure for public health such as sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water and waste disposal services," she noted.

"Reliable access to clean water and proper waste management have conventionally contributed to a country's sustainable development goals and have become even more important post-Covid."

She added that while strong governance and good planning have provided a structure to guide Singapore's infrastructure development, the pandemic calls for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors.

"When governments lay out clear directions for infrastructure plans and put in place the right governance structure, the private sector will have more confidence to participate in the implementation process, through the provision of technical and financial solutions," she said.

She noted that Singapore has an extensive range of companies offering solutions for water and waste management to meet increasing demands.

Funding from alternative sources outside the Government may also become more important post-Covid: "With resources being diverted towards Covid-19 recovery efforts, there is a strain on the Government to publicly finance infrastructure."

New financing combinations could include working with multilateral development banks to develop newer ways of guaranteeing projects and in turn increase their appeal to investors, she noted.

Social funds can also be increasingly accessed for such projects, while infrastructure development can adopt new technologies to increase their commercial viability.

She added that Infrastructure Asia, an office set up by the Government to facilitate investment in this area, has been developing the newer solutions to meet project requirements.

The webinar was co-organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities and Infrastructure Asia.

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