There will be a huge boost in the government’s spending on ICT in its financial year as technology continues becoming increasingly important in our lives amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press statement, the Government Technology Agency said that in this financial year, an estimate of US$3.5 billion would be used, up from US$2.7 billion used in the last financial year.
Among the projected spending this year will be some ICT projects introduced in response to COVID-19. Investment in technology has been essential in the government’s response to the coronavirus, the cause of the pandemic, said the media release.
For example, GovTech (Government Technology Agency) engineers put together an app for contact tracing. Also, they set up Mask Go Where, a website that guides citizens on where they can correct free masks. They also created the Support Go Where website where citizens can learn more on how and where to get funds and other benefits.
The press release added that the government would continue investing in technology in order to accelerate digitalization push in the country on a whole-of-nation level. These include artificial intelligence, development of digital services for businesses and citizens, continual migration of ICT systems onto the commercial cloud and developing applications within the government and across the industry.
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Small and midsized businesses will be eligible to participate in 80% of the potential opportunities. Nearly 70% of the total ICT contracts were awarded to SMEs in the previous financial year.
GovTech has worked together with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that SMEs get access to these opportunities, the release stated. This includes incorporating bulkier tenders as well as dynamic contracting to help shorten the procurement process.
Typically, the Government’s ICT road map is announced at the annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing, but with the restrictions put in place in the fight against COVID-19, the information will be rolled out online. The information will include more details about the focus of the digitalization program as well as areas of projected spending.
GovTech is also recruiting both fresh graduates and experienced tech experts in its attempt to help in the overall tech push.
There are over 400 vacancies for digital business analysts, software engineers, AI engineers, cybersecurity experts, data scientists, and infrastructure specialists, among others.
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Kok Ping Soon, GovTech chief executive, said that they are re-engineering their back-end digital infrastructure as we take on the new normal, noting that COVID-19 has illustrated the essence of digitalization.
“We hope that businesses, especially SMEs, will benefit from the larger pool and higher value of ICT procurement opportunities, work with us to build a smart nation and digital government, and emerge stronger from this crisis together,” he added.