Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) - Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Awards 2023

Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) - Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Awards 2023

Mr Lim Ming Yan, Chairman of the Singapore Business Federation,

Members of the Pro-Enterprise Panel,

Prof. Martin Lodge,


Distinguished guests,




1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you at the annual awards ceremony jointly organised by the Pro-Enterprise Panel and the Singapore Business Federation.


2. Today, we celebrate the close partnership and collaboration between businesses and government agencies to ensure our rules and regulations support our businesses. I thank our members in the Pro-Enterprise Panel and SBF for their contributions to this important effort, and warmest congratulations to the award recipients here with us this morning.


Operating Context


3. Our efforts have ensured that Singapore remains one of the best places for doing business, not just today, but for the future. This is according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s business environment rankings, which measure the attractiveness of business environments globally.


4. But we cannot afford to be complacent. Singapore cannot compete to be the cheapest place to do business, but our value proposition has always been our excellent infrastructure, supportive regulations, and the certainty and consistency we provide. This means that businesses can expect to get things done in Singapore efficiently and to high standards.


5. But our operating environment is evolving rapidly. From globally higher inflation and slower growth, changing tax landscape, to the increasingly fragmented geopolitical environment – there is far greater uncertainty now than before. At the same time, we face greater competition as countries pursue aggressive strategies to attract investments – including adopting industrial policies – in a bid to boost their economies and enhance their supply chain resilience.


Regulating for New Possibilities


6. Despite these challenges, there are opportunities that Singapore is well-placed to seize. The growth in the digital economy and the net-zero transition will fundamentally transform existing industries and the ways we do business. Economies which can adapt to these shifts quickly will enjoy first-mover competitive advantages. Key to doing so will be facilitative and forward-looking regulations that encourage businesses to innovate and help bring these innovations to fruition.


7. The theme for this year’s awards ceremony, “Regulating for New Possibilities” is therefore a timely reminder that regulations not only ensure our economy and society function predictably and consistently, they are also vital in fostering innovation and bringing about new ways of doing business. Let me touch on how flexible smart regulations and collaborative regulations help us pursue new opportunities.


Flexible Smart Regulations


8. A good example of flexible smart regulations is Project Orchid, a collaborative initiative between MAS and the financial industry, to explore the technical feasibility and infrastructure required for a digital Singapore dollar, or a tokenised form of Singapore dollar.


a. Through industry pilots, Project Orchid first sought to investigate the potential use and benefits of programmable digital Singapore dollar. One of these pilots was launched alongside the recent Singapore Grand Prix. Visitors purchased a blockchain-based voucher – “SG Pitstop Pack” – via the Web 3 wallet within their Grab app. They could use the voucher at over 200 eligible merchant outlets such as Jumbo Seafood, Irvins and Mint Museum of Toys.


b. This pilot provided a seamless and integrated experience for consumers using blockchain wallets for physical payments.


9. These practical experimentations will better facilitate commercial applications in future, and is an example of Government initiatives to support responsible innovation by the industry. For MAS’ efforts in catalysing such innovations and practising regulatory flexibility, they have been awarded the Pro-Enterprise Survey Award.


10. I encourage our regulatory agencies to similarly be on a default “yes” mode when it comes to supporting businesses in their aspirations and ideas. In turn, businesses should also actively engage regulators on their forward-looking plans and act responsibly.


Collaborative Regulations


11. Our regulations should also be collaborative. This is especially important given that we are often in uncharted territory and must play the role of pathfinder as we pursue emerging opportunities. To be ahead of the curve, close collaborations between the Government and the private sector are crucial to ensure our regulations remain relevant while catering to the dynamic needs of the industry.


12. At last year’s PEP-SBF Awards, we launched the Green Economy Regulatory Initiative, or GERI, to accelerate innovation in the green economy by unlocking regulatory hurdles.


a. We have received more than ten project applications since then, and I am pleased to update that agencies like SCDF and PUB have been leaning forward and working closely with businesses to scope out regulatory sandboxes for the testing of hydrogen fuel cells and recycling technology.


b. These trials will contribute to our understanding of possible pathways to a low-carbon future, and the guardrails we must put in place without imposing undue compliance costs on businesses.




13. Our role as a key business and connectivity hub has been an integral part of Singapore’s success story. Underpinning this has been our pro-enterprise regulations, which not only provide a safe and predictable environment for businesses, but also facilitates the test-bedding and trialing of innovative solutions. This is important in helping businesses to grow and scale their operations, in Singapore as well as overseas.


14. The balance between predictability and innovation is achieved through the close partnerships that the Government and industry have nurtured through the years. It is not something we should take for granted or take lightly. We must continue to deepen this collaboration to ensure we create a pro-enterprise environment, one that supports the ambition and growth of our businesses not just in Singapore, but globally.


15. With that, congratulations once again to all the award winners. I am sure all of you are looking forward to the keynote lecture by Prof. Martin Lodge, a distinguished thought leader in the area of regulatory policy, who has travelled all the way from London to be here with us today.


16. I wish everyone fruitful learning and vibrant discussions. Thank you.

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