Singapore Budget 2018: Infrastructure Office, scheme to help companies forge strong regional partnerships

Singapore's Central Business District as seen from the 28th floor of Marina One. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - With the shift in global economic weight towards Asia, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled two measures on Monday (Feb 19) to spur Singapore businesses to develop strong partnerships, both locally and abroad.

The Government will integrate various partnership support measures into one existing scheme, Pact or Partnerships for Capability Transformation. Pact will provide companies with up to 70 per cent co-funding for projects undertaken in partnership with others.

Mr Heng said the Government will set aside $800 million over the next three years for its three grant schemes - Pact, the Productivity Solutions Grant and theEnterprise Development Grant.

More details about Pact, to be run by the Economic Development Board and Enterprise Singapore, will be released when Parliament debates the spending plans of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

Mr Heng also singled out partnerships in infrastructure development, given that Asia's growth will raise infrastructure demand. He cited examples such as China's Belt and Road Initiative as well as Japan's and India's Asia-Africa Growth Corridor.

In line with this, the Minister announced the setting up of an Infrastructure Office.

This will bring together local and international firms from across the value chain - including infrastructure developers, institutional investors, management and professional services providers - to develop, finance and execute infrastructure projects.

The Infrastructure Office will enable local companies to tap opportunities in the region, said Mr Heng.

More details on this new agency - to be run by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore - will be given during the debate on MTI's and the Ministry of Law's spending plans.

"As our region grows, there will be important needs to address - in infrastructure, healthcare, and other areas," said Mr Heng. "We need to develop a good understanding of these needs, so that we can innovative solutions to contribute to our region's development."

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