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Singapore to invest SIN$4.5 billion on 'industry transformation'

Singapore will invest over SIN$4.5 billion ($3.29 billion) in an industry transformation programme to support enterprises and industries, finance minister Heng Swee Keat said in his 2016 budget announcement.24 Mar 2016

An additional SIN$450 million will be spent on Singapore's national robotics programme over the next three years, along with a 'top up' of SIN$1.5 billion into the national research fund to support the country's Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan, Heng said.

To encourage companies to acquire IP, Singaporean businesses will be allowed to write down the cost of acquiring IP over different periods of five, 10 or 15 years, instead of the current five years, Heng said.

An 'innovation district' and an accelerator programme have also been established to boost start ups, and the government will add SIN$1 billion to a development fund for Changi Airport to help develop a new terminal.

Singapore-based technology expert Bryan Tan said: "The emphasis on innovation continues unabated especially since the prime minister's visit to Silicon Valley. More funds are being devoted to a wider range of schemes to bring home the message that innovation must be a mainstay in the economy."

The Singapore government said last May that it planned to spend more than SIN$2 billion on new IT products and services this year as part of its push to become a 'smart nation'.

Suppliers of "digital and data services, web services, infocomm infrastructure" and businesses that can help deliver a new 'Smart Nation platform' for Singapore are among those who would be invited to bid for contracts, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore said.