Singapore’s reputation of strong governance, trustworthiness and reliability for businesses has contributed to its economic success. Over the last 50 years, a key factor for this success is its robust Quality & Standards (Q&S) ecosystem.
Q&S enhances the nation’s infrastructure and ensures that Singapore products and services meet international standards for quality and safety. It also lends confidence to foreign investors, and helps Singapore companies meet the demands of global customers.
This year, SPRING Singapore, together with the Singapore Standards Council (SSC) and the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC), commemorates the 50th year of the Singapore Standardisation Programme and the 30th year of the Singapore Accreditation Programme.
SPRING, SSC and SAC held a Gala Dinner recently to celebrate 50 years of nation building through Q&S. The event was graced by Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Mr Shanmugaratnam announced the vision for Q&S to be a “Key Pillar of the Future Economy” to support the work on the Committee on the Future Economy, formed last year to develop economic strategies to position Singapore for the future.
To achieve this, a budget of up to $100 million will be made available over the next five years to enhance our Q&S ecosystem and to support SMEs through standards adoption projects. Nine individuals and 10 Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) were also recognised for their significant contributions to and continued efforts in Q&S developments over the last 25 years or more.
Over the past 50 years, standards and accreditation initiatives across key industries have underpinned the standard of living in Singapore. It has also helped build trust in the Singapore brand, creating market access opportunities for our companies.
“This would not be possible without the significant contributions of the many individuals and partnerships with many organisations to co-create solutions that address key social and industry needs. We are heartened by their dedication and acknowledge their tremendous efforts in building our national Q&S infrastructure,” said Mr Poon Hong Yuen, Chief Executive, SPRING Singapore.
To achieve this new Q&S vision, SPRING will continue to participate actively in international and regional economic fora to extend the reach of our Q&S network. One significant milestone is the anchoring of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) regional office in Singapore, the first outside its headquarters, after an initial two-year pilot. This initiative seeks to help countries in this region to better participate in ISO activities and promote the greater use of ISO standards. It also supports the regional economic integration goals of the ASEAN Economic Community through harmonisation with international standards. This helps to facilitate trade and promote a more effective global value chain.
Acting Secretary General of ISO, Kevin McKinley, said, “ISO recognises that Asia and the Pacific are areas of tremendous economic dynamism and growth. While a great deal has been achieved, there remains much potential to increase the use of global standards across the region, to help improve industry competitiveness, and strengthen national economies.”
Domestically, SPRING will continue to partner industries, government agencies, CABs and research institutions to ensure that our Q&S ecosystem supports industry needs in a timely and effective manner. As part of SPRING’s continual efforts to strengthen the Q&S infrastructure for businesses, it developed and reviewed some 120 Singapore Standards and built a robust accreditation system with more than 300 competent CABs in 2015. Close to 670 companies were supported by SPRING in their standards adoption projects last year.
The strategies to achieve the new vision will be elaborated further by Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S Iswaran at tomorrow’s Quality and Standards Conference. This year’s conference, themed ‘Enabling Singapore’s Future Economy’, will focus on how Q&S can support Singapore companies to seize opportunities and address challenges of technological change, rapid urbanisation and increasing global interconnectedness.