The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”), with the support of other Government agencies, will drive a nationwide digitalisation movement to ensure that Singapore will emerge stronger in a post COVID-19 world. Our efforts will focus on three key thrusts – digital opportunities for workers; digital inclusion for all; and a concerted push for a digital future.

This was announced by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, in his Ministerial Statement during the debate on the Fortitude Budget. In his speech, Minister Iswaran elaborated on how COVID-19 has crystallised the imperative and opportunity for digitalisation, and highlighted the importance of digital inclusion.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive of IMDA said: “COVID-19 is a wake-up call that going digital is not an option – it is an imperative. But we recognize that some segments, especially our seniors and hawkers, may experience challenges doing so. We understand and empathise with their challenges, and we will spare no effort to help close the digitalisation gap for them. The team looks forward to helping our workers, seniors, hawkers and businesses go digital, and I want to encourage the industry and the community to work with us to help create a better digital future for all Singaporeans.”

Digital Opportunities for Workers and Enterprises

The ICT sector remains a bright spot in our economy. To support the demand for digital and tech roles, IMDA will partner industry leaders in various sectors to place and train up to 3,000 more Singaporeans into these roles. This will also help to address the manpower needs of the larger tech ecosystem and put the economy in good stead to seize growth opportunities.

Fresh graduates and mid-career professionals can be employed in a paid job for up to 12-months, and pick up new tech skills through IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator Company-Led Training programme.

IMDA has also launched a Digital Resilience Bonus (DRB) to encourage enterprises to invest in digital transformation. Eligible enterprises will be able to receive the DRB on top of existing support for them to adopt digital solutions, e-payments and e-invoicing. We will start with the F&B and retail sectors since they are the most affected by safe distancing requirements as part of the Safe Reopening phase. Eligible food services and retail enterprises1 that adopt pre-defined categories of solutions will receive cash payouts of up to $10,000. These enterprises must adopt the solutions by 30 June 2021 to qualify for the payout.

Digital Inclusion for All

We will ensure that everyone, particularly vulnerable segments, such as our seniors, are equipped with the necessary digital tools, skills and knowledge to participate safely and meaningfully in our shared digital future.

To reach out to seniors who may not have the interest, knowledge or financial resources to adopt digital technology, we will augment their digital literacy and access via the Seniors Go Digital programme. A community of Digital Ambassadors will work closely with organisations such as the National Library Board, People’s Association and Silver Generation Office, to engage our seniors and provide them with personalised one-to-one or small group support to use digital solutions. These Digital Ambassadors will be stationed at community nodes that seniors frequent, such as libraries and community centres. Lower-income seniors who are keen to go digital but unable to afford devices will be provided with financial support. Details on the support package for lower-income seniors will be shared at a later date.

Our Digital Ambassadors will also support stallholders’ efforts to go digital through the Hawkers Go Digital initiative. Enterprise Singapore and IMDA, with the support of the Housing and Development Board, JTC Corporation and National Environment Agency, will build on existing efforts2 to accelerate the adoption of e-payments in NEA hawker centres (including cooked food and market stalls), HDB coffeeshops and JTC industrial canteens. An E-payment Bonus of up to $1,500 ($300 per month for any five months) will be given to stallholders (both existing users and new sign-ups by 31 Dec 2020) who demonstrated sustained use of the e-payment solution. For every month that these stallholders fulfilled at least 20 e-payment transactions (minimum value of $1 per transaction), a bonus of $300 will be paid out the following month. Transactions must be completed by 31 May 2021.

Under this phase, the Government will prioritise the deployment of SGQRs3 for contactless payments. Stallholders will only need to sign up once with the master acquirer, NETS. Through the SGQR, stallholders and customers will be able to transact through up to 19 different e-payment providers4. To promote e-payment usage at the stalls, the agencies will continue to engage customers through public education and marketing efforts.

 

[1]Incorporated on or before 26 May 2020

[2]In June 2019, the Government rolled out the unified e-payment solution for hawker centres, coffeeshops and industrial canteens operating in government-owned (HDB, JTC and NEA) premises. The initiative provides a single, interoperable system, lower merchant discount rate and quicker transaction of credit for stallholders.

[3]SGQRs rely on Quick Response (QR) codes to process contactless e-payment.

[4]The following 19 payment providers are on-board the unified e-payment initiative’s SGQR solution: Active Wallet, AliPay, Amex Pay, DBS PayLah!, Diners SG Pay, EZ-Link Wallet, GrabPay, Liquid Pay, NETS Pay, OCBC PayAnyone, Singtel Dash, SLIDE by iAPPS, LiveUp Pay, RazerPay, SC Mobile by Standard Chartered Bank, UOB Mighty, UnionPay QR, VIA and WeChat Pay.

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