SINGAPORE: The government is not satisfied with the current state of procurement, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said.
Mr Tharman said the government is looking at how the process can be improved.
The deputy prime minister, who is also the Minister for Finance, said this means a constant review of the rules and guidelines but most important is compliance with the rules.
The rules by and large are there.
Mr Tharman said: "It’s compliance with the rules (that is the issue). This is partly a matter of competence —— we’ve got to build up the competence of procurement officers. That means not just the way we handle large—value tenders, where the checks are very stringent, but also the other smaller value quotations. The small transactions have to be on the radar screen as well."
The government’s procurement process came under the spotlight after an internal audit found discrepancies in NParks’ purchase of foldable Brompton bicycles, each costing S$2,200. An NParks officer has been suspended over the case.
On the topic of Singapore’s declining fertility rate, Mr Tharman said while it is not a problem unique to Singapore, it is a fundamental and serious concern.
He said the government is conducting a comprehensive review of its set of policies, adding that making family life enjoyable is part of it and that involves having community recreation facilities all around the island.
Mr Tharman was speaking at the official opening of Singapore’s only Olympic—sized ice skating rink at JCube shopping mall in Jurong East on Sunday.
More than 80,000 people have visited the rink since its soft launch in April.
The rink is the first sports facility developed under the Community/Sports Facilities Scheme, which hopes to encourage the integration of community or sports facilities in private commercial developments.
As part of the scheme, the rink operates on a non—profit model. This means all revenue generated will be re—invested into the operational and programming aspects of the facility.
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is discussing with the private sector on developing more of such facilities.
SSC chairman, Richard Seow, said: "There’s a lot of interest in alternative sports. We aim to be more proactive and figure out what the community wants and bring it closer to home for all of them."
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