Parliament Sitting on 5 October 2020
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
66. Ms Cheng Li Hui: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether there has been a significant increase in the adoption rate of Government-wide digitalisation initiatives; (b) how does the Government intend to capitalise on this opportune timing to push ahead with digitalisation and introduce new projects; and (c) whether there are plans to allocate additional funding to support and encourage Singaporeans to be more digital savvy.
COVID-19 has underscored the imperative for Singapore to digitalise. The Government is committed to support businesses and individuals on their digitalisation journey, no matter their starting point.
2. Since March, digital adoption rates have increased significantly. PayNow NRIC registrations have increased by 410,000, while PayNow mobile registrations have grown by 200,000. About 25,000 enterprises are now registered on the Nationwide E-invoicing Network, up from 1,000 in March 2020. With an enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), more than 4,600 SMEs have adopted technologies to enforce public health safety requirements and adapt to remote work. Under the Grow Digital initiative, 1,400 enterprises are tapping into overseas markets through pre-approved e-commerce platforms.
3. Beyond accelerating economy-wide digital transformation in the immediate term, we will invest in innovation to catalyse new products, services and business models. This includes collaborating with academia and industry to strengthen research and development (R&D) outcomes. We will develop capabilities of local enterprises and workers, to be more competitive and create economic value for Singapore, in areas such as data, AI, cybersecurity, immersive media and 5G.
4. The Government will continue to digitise services for convenient citizen access to government services. For example, the recent Primary 1 registration exercise was done fully online.
5. As the Government positions our economy for the future, we are equally committed to ensuring that vulnerable segments, including low-income families, seniors and small businesses, are well supported.
6. To this end, we established the SG Digital Office (SDO) and mobilised 1,000 Digital Ambassadors to drive e-payment adoption under the Hawkers Go Digital programme and equip seniors with digital skills under the Seniors Go Digital programme. More than 7,600 stallholders now offer the SGQR Unified e-Payment solution, and over 28,000 seniors have been trained.
7. To support home-based learning needs, IMDA enhanced the NEU PC Plus programme, to subsidise a second computer for larger low-income families with school-going children. More than 10,000 households have benefitted in the past nine months; double the 2019 total. An additional 7,000 low-income households and seniors have further benefited from subsidised broadband, devices or mobile data through the Home Access and the Mobile Access for Seniors schemes.
8. These efforts reflect the Government’s strong commitment to support our businesses and Singaporeans to thrive in a digital environment. We will continue to review and refine our efforts, to ensure that all Singaporeans will benefit in our shared digital future.