Singapore Budget 2018: Infrastructure Office to help S'pore firms tap Asia's growth

An Infrastructure Office will be set up later this year to bring together local and international firms to develop, finance and execute projects in the region.

It will be set up by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), a new statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The office will allow companies - from infrastructure developers to institutional investors, along with legal, accounting and finance service providers - to better tap on opportunities in Asia by exchanging information, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. The office can also facilitate infrastructure investment and financing.

The new body is one of a slew of initiatives announced yesterday to help Singapore companies forge partnerships, both locally and abroad.

Mr Heng said "as Asia's growth will raise infrastructure demand, we seek to forge stronger partnerships in infrastructure development and enhance connectivity in the region". He cited several examples of efforts to promote infrastructure development in the region, such as China's Belt and Road Initiative.

ESG will be formed through a merger between Spring Singapore and International Enterprise Singapore in April.

Mr Heng said more details of the new office will be given by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran and Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah during the Budget debate.

Singapore Contractors Association president Kenneth Loo said it can be tricky for local contractors to venture overseas by themselves but if a consortium can be formed, then challenges such as financing can be overcome.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2018, with the headline Singapore Budget 2018: Infrastructure Office to help S'pore firms tap Asia's growth. Subscribe