Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry in view of the Auditor-General's Report for FY 2019/2020 (a) how many companies have received the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) so far; (b) what action will Enterprise Singapore (ESG) undertake to ensure strict compliance to the minimum 30% local shareholding criterion for all future cases; and (c) whether ESG claws back grant monies from recipient companies as a matter of practice when there a substantial change in local shareholding before an EDG-funded project is completed.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Culture, Community and Youth, Low Yen Ling)
1. The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is part of Enterprise Singapore’s (ESG) toolkit to help businesses grow their core capabilities, innovate and internationalise. As of September 2020, ESG has supported almost 5,000 EDG projects. In administering grants, ESG strives to strike a balance between ensuring the robustness of the governance process and the ease with which local enterprises can apply for support.
2. Checks are performed during the grant approval process to ensure EDG applicants meet the minimum 30% local shareholding criterion. Thereafter, the grant conditions require all EDG recipients to inform ESG of any changes in the application information during the course of the project. If recipients are found to be in breach of the grant conditions, including the 30% local shareholding criterion, ESG will withhold or if disbursement had been made, claw-back the grant. ESG will also subject these companies to enhanced scrutiny for future applications.
3. For the case raised in the AGO Report, no disbursement had been made to the company. The company has also been placed on ESG’s watchlist for stricter scrutiny for future grant applications.
4. ESG agrees with AGO’s recommendation and has commenced a second round of checks on shareholding eligibility before grant disbursement. ESG is also studying the feasibility of improving such checks using tools such as data analytics.