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Parliamentary Replies

Measures to Increase Productivity In Our Workforce

12 Feb 2015

Date: 12 February 2015

Parliamentary Question by Ms Rita Soh Siow Lan:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in the effort to increase productivity of our workforce, what measures have been put in place to harmonise the upstream policies and processes (i) amongst the various Government agencies and (ii) within and across the different Ministries.

Reply by Senior Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo:

The government recognises that successful implementation of major initiatives will typically require aligning multiple stakeholder agencies.

For example, to better align productivity efforts in the construction sector, the Building Innovation Panel led by MND and BCA brings together 9 regulatory agencies including NEA, SCDF and LTA, to facilitate multi-agency evaluation and approval of innovative products or processes that improve construction productivity. The Panel has made it easier for several new technologies to be accepted for use in building projects in Singapore, such as Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction and Cross Laminated Timber. The use of new technologies and materials support the broader measures taken upstream, namely the higher requirements for development projects’ buildability and constructability scores which are themselves the result of multi-agency deliberations.

That is a sectoral example. More broadly, we have also established tripartite and inter-agency platforms to coordinate and drive national efforts across different domains. This approach has been adopted for the long term effort to restructure our economy towards higher skills and productivity, through the tripartite National Productivity Council (NPC). The NPC is supplemented by sub-committees with sectoral focus.

The multi-agency e-Gov Council is another case. It drives and coordinates the improvement of electronic services to businesses and citizens. A recent example is the processing of applications by property developers to pay an additional charge to enhance land value. By streamlining workflows and using a common IT platform, URA and SLA are able to process applications concurrently, reducing approval time. 

The Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) is another mechanism to address rules and regulations that hamper productivity. Businesses that face challenges navigating regulatory requirements may approach the PEP, which comprises senior public officers and business leaders. Since 2000, the PEP has reviewed more than 1,800 suggestions from businesses on rules and procedures and accepted more than half of them. Besides the PEP, there is a Smart Regulation Committee, which was set up to promote good regulatory design and practices across the Government, and to benchmark our regulations against international standards.

Our systems and processes will continue to evolve. But we are committed to strengthening the coordination of policies and processes within the Government and with our partners, and welcome suggestions on how we can do this better.