Singapore Government Agencies Merge for Greater Effectiveness
In an effort to help companies grow and internationalise in Singapore, two government agencies – International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and SPRING will merge and form a new agency, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).
The merged agency will be set up by April next year ad be known as Enterprise Singapore. It will be headed by the ministry’s Second Permanent Secretary Png Cheong Boon.
Through this integration of resources and capabilities, MTI hopes the new agency will be able to more effectively look into the needs of Singapore companies and also help enhance their competitiveness.
There will be no retrenchments for this exercise which will affect about 960 employees, MTI said in a statement recently.
The ministry explained that it was not a downsizing exercise and there will actually be new roles created, expanded job scopes and more opportunities for staff.
This was confirmed by S. Iswaran, Singapore’s Miinister for Trade and Industry (Industry), who stressed that the merger was “not about downsizing or rationalising”, but that it would lead to different job scopes for employees.
“It is inevitable that job scopes may have to change. Not everyone will be doing the same thing that they were doing before and there will be some element of retraining and adaptation. This is something the agencies and government are fully committed to,” he said.
Following the merger, the new agency will work at developing more streamlined and comprehensive assistance programmes for companies.
It will also look into ways to simplify schemes for companies with different needs across various industries.
However, Enterprise Singapore will continue to be the lead agency for trade promotion, support the internationalisation needs of large companies and retain its role as the national body for standardisation, accreditation and legal metrology.
By the second quarter of 2018, the consumer protection function under SPRING will be transferred to the Competition Commission of Singapore.
MTI said this will consolidate the work of safeguarding fair trading and competition in a single agency.
As a key enabler, Iswaran said government agencies must also evolve and re-organise themselves as needed, to better support local businesses and prepare them for the future economy.
He said the decision to establish Enterprise Singapore will enable them to respond faster to the changes in the external environment, provide better, more seamless and effective support to Sinagpore companies and industries and grow stronger.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) both welcomed the merger and looked forward to working with the new agency.
SBF chairman Teo Siong Seng said that through this one-agency approach, SMEs would get the “support and guidance” that they need.
ASME president Kurt Wee agreed and said that the merger would “bring about a one-stop synergy for SMEs” which would improve convenience.
The association also welcomed Png’s appointment as chief executive-designate of Enterprise Singapore.
“Png has worked closely with SMEs over the last two decades. His distinctive service as the former chief executive of SPRING Singapore and subsequently Jurong Town Corporation will go its way to ensure a successful integration of the two important agencies, whilst also preserving the strengths and deep knowledge of each one,” ASME said.