During the participation in the Committee of Supply debate for the Prime Minister’s office’s budget, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office (SNPO) said, "Consolidation of the infrastructure is the road towards Smart Nation and the government will move to ensure ‘inter-operability’ between services for consumers."
He said, “For this, the government will provide data to allow businesses and citizens to develop products to serve needs.”
The Minister added, “Providing government data, having open data, and allowing the private sector to ride on top of it, creates a whole new level of services that we could not have imagined, or could have delivered with such style.”
The perfect example is the launch of GrabShuttle- a new on-demand shuttle bus service launched on February 3 that is powered by Beeline platform, which was developed by the Land Transport Authority and the Government Technology Agency.
However, in the debate, some MPs questioned roll-out of Singapore’s Smart Nation drive and whether it was creating more efficiency. MP from Tampines GRC Cheng Li Hui gave an example of multiple forms of cashless payments available in the market and wanted to know whether the government could take the lead in streamlining these various platforms.
Dr. Balakrishnan acknowledged the need for more integrated digital platforms. He stressed that though there should be consolidation at the infrastructure level, customers should continue to have options, to retain an element of competition and choice.
Speaking further, the Minister said, “The way forward is interoperability, such as the Central Addressing Scheme being developed that will allow people to transfer money to one another using their mobile numbers, across participating banks.”