Country Listing

Singapore Table of Contents


Economic Boards

Under the appropriate government ministries, statutory boards-- a concept carried over from colonial days--were established to manage specific parts of the economy and foster overall and sectoral development. Each worked somewhat autonomously, using a hands-on approach to the problems in the areas in which it operated.

Economic Development Board

The Economic Development Board was established in 1961 to spearhead Singapore's industrialization. Initially its function was to promote industrial investment, develop and manage industrial estates, and provide medium- and long-term industrial financing. The latter function was taken over in 1968 by the newly created Development Bank of Singapore (see Financial Center Development , this ch.). When the limits of import substitution became evident, given the small domestic market, policy was redirected toward promoting an export-oriented, labor-intensive industrialization program. After 1986 the board's portfolio was enlarged to include the promotion of services in partnership with other government agencies responsible for the various service sectors and the development of local small- and medium-sized enterprises. In the first two decades following independence, the board evolved industrial strategies in response to changes in the international and domestic business environments, as well as negotiating the public-private consensus necessary for implementing them. The board was not an economic tsardom but, rather, a consensus maker among agencies and corporations that commanded larger financing. In 1989 the Economic Development Board focused its attention on attracting investments in manufacturing and other high value-added services, which met the technological skills and employment needs of Singapore's future economic development.

Data as of December 1989