Ibrahim FINAL

The Singapore government held a public launch today for a new agency, called the Government Technology Agency (or GovTech), aimed at transforming how the government delivers public services to the average Singaporean.

It is rolling out various platforms, including a service to make paying tuition easier, a trade information and management system and Capability Centres to improve engineering talent.

GovTech also plans to be the “guardian of the security and resiliency of government ICT,” by strengthening technical policies, rules and standards.

This is an important part of developing trust between the public and the government, explained Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s Minister for Communications & Information, at a launch-event speech.

“Setting and raising ICT standards across the board is increasingly important, as the interconnectedness of our government networks mean that the security of the entire system depends on its weakest link,” he said.

The agency will also back projects — much like IDA used to — to deliver “whole-of-government and national-level ICT projects.”

“The government has a big role to play too, by setting the example and applying ICT and related engineering solutions to improve our quality of life, create opportunities for businesses, and drive productive and efficient government processes,” Ibrahim said.

GovTech plans to actively partner with the private sector for these projects, he added.

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The agency is not simply leading a re-design or model revamp. GovTech plans to integrate data science, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to facilitate the system.

GovTech will collaborate with the DesignSingapore Council in developing the various platforms and services.

One of the more interesting of the first wave projects is called MyInfo, a digital vault which the government will extend to both citizens and organisations in the finance sector. Citizens will be able to upload certain personal data, which they can much easily retrieve digitally later on when needed for making transactions with banks and other financial institutions, for instance.

It is a consent-based programme, and GovTech is currently partnering with the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to build the platform. MyInfo is currently at the proof-of-concept stage with undisclosed banks.

Another service is called CorpPass, a single digital identity for businesses, non-profits and organisations that will slowly phase out the SingPass/EASY systems.

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The launch of GovTech is certainly in line with the overall Smart Nation drive in Singapore, and the agency plans on playing the role of deploying ICT technology. To illustrate, Ibrahim brought up the example of an IoT development from the Energy Market Authority that allows almost real-time tracking of utility consumption.

“The role in government cybersecurity puts GovTech in good stead to support Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. GovTech will work with partners to install the secure and resilient public sector needed for a Smart Nation,” said Ibrahim.

GovTech is organising a public exhibition at the Foyer of Star Vista this weekend (October 8-9) to showcase the services and products on the roadmap. It is free to the public and open from 10am to 8pm.