07 Mar 2018

The Business Times

By Janice Heng

As a leading financial centre, Singapore is uniquely placed to address the problems involved in financing infrastructure projects in Asia, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah, explaining the role of the Infrastructure Office which will be launched in October 2018.

Over the next 15 years, an estimated US$26 trillion may be spent on infrastructure projects in Asia, she said in her ministry's Committee of Supply debate yesterday.

"Many of such projects are looking for financing, and financers are looking for projects to fund.

"But the projects are unable to obtain financing due to lack of bankability, usually occasioned by the lack of proper project preparation, project structuring, and technical issues."

This is where Singapore comes in.

Ms Indranee noted that Singapore-based banks have provided loans or financial advisory services for an estimated 60 per cent of infrastructure projects in Asean.

Also located here are commercial banks with project finance teams and project structuring expertise; multilateral development banks; and professional services firms, from law firms to engineering consultancies. Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran cited Asia's infrastructure growth as an opportunity that cuts across multiple sectors, including financial services, professional services, precision engineering and construction.

The upcoming Infrastructure Office aims to deepen understanding of the project pipeline, promote collaboration between foreign and local firms across the entire infrastructure value chain, and facilitate projects, he said.

Set up by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Office will also tap agencies such as the Economic Development Board and the Professional Services Programme Office.

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission