For Immediate Release Joint News Release SINGAPORE COOPERATION ENTERPRISE PARTNERS THE WORLD BANK AND TEMASEK FOUNDATION TO SHARE SINGAPORE’S EXPERTISE IN PUBLIC FINANCE WITH THE LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (PDR) Singapore, Monday, 9 February 2009 Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), the World Bank Lao PDR Office (WB) and Temasek Foundation (TF) announced today that they will embark on a Public Finance Modernisation and Governance Programme for the Ministry of Finance, Lao PDR (MOF). It is also the first project with the World Bank under the Singapore-World Bank Memorandum of Understanding that was signed last December. The two-year Public Finance Modernisation and Governance Programme aims to support the MOF’s overall reform efforts by sharing Singapore’s best practices in treasury, tax and customs. The programme is supported by Temasek Foundation with a grant amount of SGD $1.15 million. Singapore’s public finance expertise to complement the World Bank’s development work International Organisations (IOs) like the World Bank have been keen to engage SCE to tap into Singapore’s public sector know-how. This programme was jointly developed by SCE and the World Bank to pool expertise from Singapore and the World Bank. The programme will train 235 senior policy makers and officials from the MOF and benefit treasury, tax and customs departments through a series of policy roundtables in Singapore; tax advisory to conceptualise a master plan; and train-the-trainers capacity building workshops. SCE will assemble a team of ex-senior officials from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Singapore Customs and the Ministry of Finance of Singapore to assist the MOF in adapting policies, systems and processes that aims to strengthen Lao PDR’s public finance capabilities. There will also be a briefing conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore during this first policy roundtable in Singapore. Speaking at the opening of the programme, Her Excellency Mdm. Viengthong Siphandone said: “Ministry of Finance, Lao PDR is grateful for Temasek Foundation’s support for this programme. We are also pleased to partner SCE as our focal point in Singapore to share Singapore’s public sector expertise in modernising our treasury, tax and customs departments. With this programme, our officials will be able to network, share views and forge collaboration with key public finance experts and agencies in Singapore. This is our first collaboration with SCE and we look forward to more opportunities to exchange knowledge between the two governments.” SCE to work closely with International Organisations on development projects This is the first ever tripartite collaboration between SCE, the World Bank and Temasek Foundation. Increasing, International Organisations (IOs) have approached SCE to share Singapore’s developmental experience with their client countries. Mr. Alphonsus Chia, Chief Executive Officer of SCE said: “We are happy that Singapore’s developmental experience has been recognised by IOs. SCE is pleased to partner the IOs to participate in more public sector led projects in this region. We hope that this programme will lead to more collaboration between Singapore and Lao PDR.” Through greater understanding of the needs of the foreign governments and the types of expertise available, SCE hopes to contribute more meaningfully in development projects. “The World Bank is pleased to partner SCE to support Lao Government to strengthen its public financial management” stated Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan, World Bank’s Country Manager for Laos. Adding further, he said that this programme offers a unique learning opportunity for Lao professionals to learn from Singapore’s experience in the spirit of south-south cooperation. This programme is an integral part of Government of Laos’s Public Financial Management Strengthening Programme that was launched in 2007, and a pioneering effort to strengthen aid effectiveness in Laos, and thus receiving the support of several partners. Building friendships and developing human capital through this collaboration This partnership between Singapore and Lao PDR will further encourage knowledge exchange and strengthen friendship between the two countries. “This programme is aligned with Temasek Foundation’s focus on capacity and capability-building of communities in Asia. We hope our support of expertise-sharing between public finance policy makers and officials in Singapore and Laos will create a positive impact on the development of regulatory expertise in the region,” said Mr. Goh Geok Khim, Chairman of Temasek Foundation. The programme kicks-off today with a five day policy roundtable, attended by a 15 member delegation led by Vice-Minister for Finance, Her Excellency Mdm. Vienthong Siphandone. A Memorandum of Understanding between SCE, the World Bank and Ministry of Finance will be signed on 4 March 2009 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, to formalise the collaboration. Jointly Issued by SCE, WB and TF Note to Editor: About Singapore Cooperation Enterprise Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) is an agency formed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore in May 2006 to respond effectively to the multitude of foreign requests to tap on Singapore’s development experience. SCE works closely with Singapore’s 15 ministries and over 60 statutory boards to tailor possible solutions to match the foreign parties’ needs. Where necessary, SCE will invite participation from relevant private sector players, including representatives from trade and industry associations. SCE’s main objective is to share Singapore’s public sector expertise to foreign ministries, agencies and parties interested to enhance or adapt their system using Singapore’s model as a reference. In doing so, we aim to build long-term partnerships with foreign parties and to generate business opportunities for Singapore’s private sectors through public-private partnerships. The International Partnerships Division (IPD) is a dedicated unit set up within SCE to spearhead cooperation with International Organisations (IOs) such as Asian Development Bank and World Bank. IPD works closely with IOs who share SCE’s interest in promoting development, and can provide complementary expertise and financing solutions for our projects. About World Bank The goal of the World Bank is to reduce poverty and to improve the living standards of the people in low and middle-income countries. The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but collaborative role to advance the vision of an inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. About Temasek Foundation Temasek Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organisation anchored in Singapore that seeks to contribute to sustainable growth and a bright future of hope and opportunities for people in Asia. The foundation works with partners to support programmes that develop people through health care, education and research, programmes that build bridges between peoples, programmes that build institutions of excellence through good governance and ethics, and programmes that rebuild lives and livelihoods affected by natural disasters.
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