Singapore may be a small city state of just 5.7 million people, but it has a big profile as a global leader in infrastructure.
Thanks to its strength the Asian nation outperforms 75 countries when it comes to Governance and Permits, according to the Global Infrastructure Hub’s InfraCompass 2020 report. InfraCompass helps governments identify strengths and areas for priority action by analysing a country’s infrastructure development enabling environment based on eight distinct drivers.
Unlocking infrastructure potential
Singapore has implemented practices that increase the transparency and fairness of public procurement, which help drive investment activity in infrastructure projects. These practices include publishing public procurement notices online and ensuring that tender documents transparently detail procurement procedures. The transparency of the process encourages more participation and competition, which drives value for money.
According to the World Bank, Singapore has the second lowest cost to start a business as a share of per capita income in Asia, at 0.4%, easing the entry of new firms.
In addition, the city state is AAA-rated by four international credit ratings agencies, the highest of all Asian InfraCompass 2020 countries, ass the government to borrow at a lower cost. Singapore's credit rating allows the government to borrow at a lower cost.
Facilitating development in the region
Singapore is strengthening its position as a facilitator of major infrastructure development projects in Southeast and South Asia. Set up by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Infrastructure Asia’s role is to support infrastructure financing and development in the region, through early project scoping, best practice sharing and deal brokering.
Seth Tan, Executive Director of Infrastructure Asia, says, “Singapore has a vibrant infrastructure ecosystem, including international developers, engineering and professional services, financial institutions and multilateral development entities. We welcome partner governments to explore how Singapore-based firms can contribute to their infrastructure needs.”
Successful projects that Singapore-based companies have built overseas to date include the Sembcorp Myingyan Power Plant in Myanmar and the Northgate District Cooling Plant in the Philippines. As many best-in-class infrastructure players are based out of Singapore, it is clear the Singapore infrastructure ecosystem understands what it takes to build quality infrastructure development and can help with bringing forth more quality infrastructure developments in the region.
Improving connectivity and cycling
The nation aims to expand the length of its railway network from 230km in 2018 to 360km by 2030, increasing the density and reach of mass rapid transit (MRT). The two main Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) developments are the Cross Island MRT line and the Thomson -East Coast MRT Line. Of these, the Cross Island line project is an impressive 50km in length, meaning it will become Singapore’s longest underground line.
Projects also include sustainable solutions. Besides expanding the existing cycling network, the Ang Mo Kio Walking & Cycling Town Phase 2, by 16km, a new route will include a 2.6km corridor for shared walking and cycling along the MRT viaduct between Yio Chu Kang MRT station and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Not resting on its laurels after being voted the ‘best airport in the world’ for eight years running, the new Terminal 5 at Changi Airport will increase the passenger handling capacity from 85 million per year in 2018 to 135 million per year by 2030.
Singapore is also constructing a new US$14.5bn mega port, called Tuas, to expand cargo capacity.
Further, the city state is set to beef up its digital infrastructure, supply chain resilience, cybersecurity, and cross-border alliances. Businesses have already stepped up their digital push following a strict lockdown during COVID-19 in 2020 which saw online transactions double to 14.3 of total sales.
Consequently, the government has identified key underlying infrastructures that it believes will help Singapore become a global and regional e-commerce hub. It aims to build out the local 5G networks, supply chain capabilities, and payment platforms.
Singapore understands what it takes to build quality infrastructure projects. Every country should follow its lead.