Parliamentary Question by Ms K Thanaletchimi:
To ask the Minister for Finance whether opportunities are given to local SMEs for government tenders and, if so, how extensive is the support given for local SMEs and local entrepreneurs in this aspect.
Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:
1 SMEs have been successful in securing government projects under our open procurement system. In 2015 and 2016, more than 80% of the contracts called by government agencies were awarded to SMEs. These contracts make up about half of the total value of all contracts awarded in the same period. Of the contracts awarded to SMEs, about 90% were won by SMEs that have at least 50% local equity.
2 As the vast majority of government contracts are below $100,000 in value, there are significant opportunities for smaller enterprises to participate in government procurement. To facilitate participation in government procurement, the first GeBIZ account is free, and this allows suppliers to view procurement opportunities and submit their bids electronically. There are also existing platforms such as GeBIZ Mall, which provides electronic “shelf-space” for suppliers to publicise their goods or services and for government agencies to buy directly from them.
3 The Ministry of Finance and government agencies also participate in outreach events, such as the Government Procurement Fair for SMEs organised by the Singapore Business Federation, to help SMEs gain a better understanding of government procurement processes.
4 There is also targeted support in specific industries. For example, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) established the Accreditation@IMDA Programme in 2014 to nurture Singapore-based innovative technology startups and SMEs. Under this programme, 23 Singapore-based suppliers have been accredited. To-date, more than 120 government contracts have been won by accredited suppliers. Private sector buyers and investors have also shown interest in accredited suppliers due to the assurance provided by the work performed and track record built through this programme.
5 Under the enhanced Partnership for Capability Transformation through Government lead demand, also known as Gov-PACT, government agencies will identify problem statements that require innovative solutions that do not yet exist in the market, and issue calls for proposals to the industry to develop and test-bed such solutions. Local SMEs and startups whose proposals are accepted are eligible for up to 70% funding support from SPRING Singapore for qualifying development costs. Gov-PACT enables our local enterprises to strengthen their innovation capabilities as they co-create and prototype innovative products and services for the public sector. This allows them to build track record with the Singapore Government as a reference customer, and catalyse their growth. Since the programme was launched in April 2017, two calls for proposals have been launched by JTC and NEA to good response from local SMEs.
6 Beyond government procurement opportunities, the Government also supports SMEs in many other ways, including through capability development, access to working capital and financing, and skills training for their workforce.
 SMEs are defined as enterprises with annual sales turnover of not more than S$100 million or employment size of not more than 200 workers.