Second Reading Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister in Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Transport, On The National Productivity Fund Bill 201016 Sep 2010
1 Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time".
2 In his Budget Statement for FY2010, the Minister for Finance announced the establishment of the National Productivity Fund to support nationwide initiatives for productivity. The Government targets to put $2 billion into the Fund to sustain our productivity effort over the next decade, starting with an injection of $1 billion this financial year.
3 This Bill provides for the establishment of the Fund, and the establishment of the Productivity Fund Administration Board to administer the Fund.
Main Provisions in the Bill
4 Sir, I shall now highlight the main features of the Bill.
5 Part II of the Bill sets out the purposes for which moneys in the National Productivity Fund may be used. The Fund is intended to fund a range of initiatives related to productivity enhancement and continuing education. These include supporting productivity improvements for specific sectors and industries, as well as developing infrastructure and tools to raise productivity across the economy.
6 Part III of the Bill provides for the setting up of a new statutory body, called the Productivity Fund Administration Board, to administer the Fund. The primary function of the Board, as stated in Clause 10, shall be & "to evaluate and review proposals for usage of the Fund and to approve the payment of money from the Fund" in accordance with approved purposes of the Fund.
7 Clause 12(1) empowers the Board, in undertaking its functions, to appoint a committee or a council to advise the Board. The National Productivity and Continuing Education Council chaired by DPM Teo Chee Hean will establish the priorities and programmes of the Fund and provide inputs to the Board in the evaluation of proposals for funding.
8 Part IV of the Bill provides for the appointment of an Executive Secretary by the Board to be responsible for the proper administration and management of the functions of the Board, and for the presentation of annual financial statements and reports to Parliament.
9 Part V of the Bill contains several general provisions ranging from regulation-making to the proper conduct of officers exercising functions under the Bill.
10 Sir, the establishment of the National Productivity Fund, to be administered by the Productivity Fund Administration Board, underscores the Government's strong commitment to productivity enhancements over the long-term, irrespective of the state of the economy. With the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council overseeing the priorities and programmes of the Fund, we hope to catalyse major productivity improvements at the worker, enterprise, and national level.
11 Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move