GovMedia (July 2024)

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Issue No. 1

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hailed as PH’s first global geopark by UNESCO


he United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially named Bohol as the country's first global geopark, recognizing the province's natural landforms and marine resources as among the best in the world. This was announced during the 216th session of UNESCO’s executive board held in Paris, France. Bohol is now part of the prestigious list of 195 locations in 48 countries that have been designated as global geoparks by UNESCO.

The Danajon Double Barrier Reef, which consists of two sets of sizable offshore coral reefs created by tidal currents and coral growth, was acclaimed by the agency as one of its kind in Southeast Asia. The reef is also one of the only six known double-barrier reefs in the world. The three-tiered Can-umantad waterfalls in Bohol, which are the highest in the province, were also recognized by UNESCO. The elevated marine terrace in the village of Loon, affectionately known by locals as the "coral garden," also received praise.

“These recognitions for the Philippines on a global scale highlight our nation’s unrivaled natural beauty around the globe. We heartily thank UNESCO for endorsing and including the Philippines, along with the 18 new designations, in its network of outstanding geoparks in the world. Amidst our constant efforts towards recovery, the Philippines opens its doors to tourists who aim to witness the natural beauty of our country,” Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines’ Chief Operating Officer Maria Margarita Montemayor Nograles said.

The Executive Board of UNESCO has approved the inclusion of these 18 sites in its Global Networks. Only the Philippines and New Zealand are brand-new members of this group.

According to UNESCO, the island of Bohol has risen from the ocean floor over the course of 150 million years as a result of tectonic upheaval. Karstic geosites such as caves, sinkholes, and cone karst are abundant in the geopark, which is home to the well-known Chocolate Hills.

Sources: bohol-named-philippines-first-unesco-global-geopark

The 2015 development of the UNESCO Global Geopark designation honors "geological heritage of international significance." The group emphasizes that geoparks play a vital role in benefiting local communities by preserving their significant geological treasures, engaging the public, and promoting sustainable development practices.




nhanced regulations pave the way for greater efficiency in government services, spanning various domains such as technology, food, energy, and labor. In Hong Kong, a new tax bill is introduced to entice highnet worth individuals to invest more. Read the story on page 18.

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On page 8, Arnauld Bertrand and Julie McQueen propose a framework to consider for national workforce planning. A transport think tank outlines policy recommendations to decarbonise freight transport in the Philippines, as seen on page 20. Our reports follow up implementations of projects to check for gaps that policymakers may consider. Data security concerns affect public confidence in government services. Read more about this on page 14. Meanwhile, food systems can still be improved if measures from the World Economic Forum are put in place, according to a study on page 15. In our first issue, we recognise the excellent projects and initiatives that have made significant contributions to the government sector and showcased innovation. May they continue to inspire others in their pursuit of excellence. You can check out the list of GovMedia 2023 award recipients and other event highlights on page 26. With you in service,

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FIRST 06 Lack of policies hinders fair adoption of transportation technologies

07 Over 800 million jobs at risk due to climate change

08 Seven stages of national workforce planning

ANALYSIS 12 Overhauling healthcare model

answer to Bangladesh’s oldest population woes

13 AI-driven Malaysia Healthcare Intel to refine priorities

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09 Young gen to push gov’ts to fast

track digital infrastructures 14 Data security concerns affect public confidence in government services 15 How markets can transform their food systems 16 What drives faster economic growth in ASEAN markets 17 3 major hurdles to achieving Vietnam’s PDP8 energy goals


22 ‘Triple S’ strategy drives Thai energy transition

24 Healthier SG cuts hospital load and spending

COMMENTARY 30 How governments will drive post

pandemic supply chain resilience in SEA

32 Rising energy pressures: Navigating energy vulnerability in Asia Pacific

19 HK must act to keep its global

maritime hub status afloat 20 Transport think tank presents ways to decarbonise freight transport system 21 Revised rules bolster Korean banks’ competition, but no silver bullet to thriving For the latest news on governance and leadership, visit the website

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The typical U.S. metropolitan resident relying on public transportation can access only 30% of jobs in their region within 90 minutes (Ono Kosuki from Pexels)

Lack of policies hinders fair adoption of transportation technologies UNITED STATES


ew technologies are transforming the way transportation agencies operate services by advancing simulation capabilities, electric and fuel-efficient vehicles, and new mobility apps and micro-mobility solutions. However, there is a lack of progress in policies to guide the fair adoption of these technologies in communities, which could impede the transformation. Transportation agencies must balance efforts to bolster traditional services and integrate new technologies and services to meet travellers’ mobility needs whilst ensuring that the residents they serve can take advantage of services regardless of their income or ability, according to a report by Deloitte. The federal government’s Justice40 initiative directs federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to collaborate with states and local communities to deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. This focus, combined with new funding opportunities for traditional and technological infrastructure in the 2021 Infrastructure 6 GOVMEDIA

Investment and Jobs Act, makes the case for pursuing inclusive mobility innovations more compelling and urgent. Promoting equity Achieving efficient, safe, and sustainable regional mobility requires innovation that prioritises equity for both travelers and communities, stated Deloitte. Transportation planners must consider the community’s physical, socioeconomic, and cultural aspects. Additionally, building trust through community engagement is essential for successfully implementing services, enhancing traditional operations, and adopting new technologies in the transportation sector. “Transit can champion equity and access and help ensure that new developments or innovations meet the needs of our community,” according to IndyGo President and CEO, Inez Evans.

Transportation agencies should consider their unique position in helping to establish trust by incorporating community input in shaping technological development and ensuring that new tools promote equity whilst contributing to the overall optimisation of the system. Human-centred design (HCD) is a leading methodology used to focus solutions on the end user’s needs. In transportation, HCD can be used to develop new technologies based on travellers’ needs, as identified and prioritised by the community and relevant stakeholders. Putting people at the centre of innovation helps each solution to be physically accessible, restore choice, and provide access to opportunity, promote sustainability, and protect data privacy. “Even with the most altruistic tech innovations, you can’t bridge mobility gaps without addressing foundational needs,” said Monica Tibbits-Nutt, executive director of the 128 Business Council and former vice-chair of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. Public agencies’ role Transportation agencies can lead the charge in harnessing technology to promote positive outcomes alongside the private sector. If public regulations can keep pace with mobility innovations, pilot solutions can be more easily scaled as companies gain consistent regulatory guidance and ground rules. Agencies can set those policies to incentivise equitable access to these new services whilst adopting emerging innovations into their own operations as well. “Sometimes agency leaders are going to have to be the ones to step out onto a ledge and bring their communities along,” said Evans. Transportation agencies, hence, should design systems that provide access to regional opportunities whilst simultaneously providing people with choices in the ways they can move within their communities. True choice requires a system that can offer travellers alternatives to personal vehicles to reach their destinations. The typical U.S. metropolitan resident relying on public transportation can access only 30% of jobs in their region within 90 minutes. Transportation agencies must be pioneers in providing travellers with fair access and opportunities, eliminating historical and systemic barriers.

Even with the most altruistic tech innovations, you cannot bridge mobility gaps without addressing foundational needs


If proactive government coordination is implemented, investments could be directed where they are needed the most (Photo from Pexels)

Over 800 million jobs at risk due to climate change GLOBAL


n uncoordinated transition to net-zero emissions could exacerbate this issue. The report suggests that over 800 million jobs worldwide, around a quarter of the global workforce, are highly vulnerable to climate extremes and the economic impacts of an uncoordinated transition. The Asia-Pacific and Africa regions are particularly at risk, as they employ a significant portion of their workforce in at-risk industries such as agriculture, conventional energy, and heavy industry. For instance, China and India have

over 40% of their workforce in highly exposed industries. On the other hand, the report explains that coordinated climate policy could help protect jobs disrupted by climate change and decarbonisation. The report finds that the global workforce already possesses 80% of the skills required for “green-collar” roles, and with the help of public policy, investments could be directed towards training to fill any skill gaps. The report emphasises that if proactive government coordination is implemented, investments could be directed where they are needed

Global economy could create more than 300 million additional jobs by 2050 than it would otherwise have on a passive transition pathway

the most, including retraining workers with vulnerable jobs to ensure they find new employment in the green economy. The majority of the skills required for decarbonisation already exist in the global workforce today, according to the analysis, which means that most workers possess what they need to find work in a new economy, or they could, with minor upskilling. Moreover, many workers from industries that are most affected by the transition to net-zero emissions already have skills that will be valuable in an economy shaped by the construction of new public infrastructure, the retrofitting of certain existing systems, and the creation of new industries. The report suggests that effectively harnessing this talent and directing it towards new areas of growth could reduce economic disruption during the transition and improve global standards of living. However, this would require government participation through new workforce and decarbonisation policies. The report stated that if policymakers commit to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, rebuilding the economy as a series of interconnected systems, creating new employment pathways for disrupted workers, and upskilling and training the workforce with in-demand skills, the global economy could create more than 300 million additional jobs by 2050 than it would otherwise have on a passive transition pathway.



racking fast-changing citizen needs has been the most significant challenge in achieving citizen-centricity, according to the 65% of senior government officials who participated in an EY survey. The survey, involving 150 senior government officials from 18 different countries, also revealed that citizens are raising their expectations from the governments, driven by high-quality private-sector digital experiences. Consequently, governments must prioritise better use of data by integrating technology and embracing a data-centric approach. This requires a data strategy that reaches across functions and expands beyond the IT team. To achieve their data goals, governments must take six key actions. First, they need to develop a clear vision for data-driven operations. Second, they should focus on

building data literacy and capabilities within their organisations. Third, they must prioritise data governance and establish clear policies and processes for data collection, storage, and use. Fourth, they should invest in technology and infrastructure to support their data strategy. Fifth, they should work to improve data sharing and collaboration both within their own organisations and with external partners. Finally, they should consider implementing new data-driven business models to drive innovation and improve services. “Meeting the changing demands of citizens is the most important objective of government transformation efforts, and a data-centric approach can help organisations achieve their goals and deliver better outcomes for citizens.”

Challenges to organisation being more data-driven (top three ranks)

Source: EY Tech Horizon Study 2021; EY Knowledge analysis



Photo from the Capgemini Research Institute


ith the proliferation of global cloud services, a Capgemini report has highlighted that governments have begun shaping how “sovereign clouds” are regulated and used. “Sovereign clouds,” refers to a cloud computing environment that is owned, deployed, governed, and managed locally, or regionally within a single nation or jurisdiction. Investments in cloud services are expected to exceed the $1t threshold by 2024 as cloud sovereignty gains traction across economies. “What’s clear is that governments are leading the charge to cloud sovereignty, with a range of regulatory developments shaping the way forward,” said Stegan Zosel, Capgemini Government Cloud Transformation Leader, in the report “The Journey to Cloud Sovereignty” by the Capgemini Research Institute. Capgemini surveyed senior executives from 1,000 organisations across multiple sectors, including 200 in government and the public sector. The survey, in particular, found that more than three in four (76%) respondents of government or the public sector believe a sovereign cloud will be adopted in their organisation to ensure compliance with the regulations and standards of the local government. This is higher than the 71% recorded across all sectors. In addition, the report found that 74% of public sector participants cited concern over the security and resilience of public cloud providers, whilst the threat of potential exposure to extra-territorial laws or the possibility of data access by foreign governments was raised by 68%. Zosel noted that there are some countries that have put in place provisions to mitigate such risks. The US, for instance, enforced the 2018 CLOUD Act, providing authorities access to data belonging to US-based cloud service providers.


The study provides a framework for governments to follow as they seek to create a skilled, empowered, and motivated workforce (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels)

Seven stages of national workforce planning GLOBAL


echnology has been redefining the workforce in the 21st century with the emergence of different data-driven tools, and governments are no exception. With demands continually changing, how will governments be able to deliver with 20th-century skills and working practices? An EY study titled, “How can government workers and technology align to serve future citizens?” by Arnauld Bertrand and Julie McQueen, revealed the challenges and framework for creating the future workforce of governments. The study emphasises the importance of strategic workforce planning at a national level, focusing on the workforce’s role in driving transformation, adding that a national digital strategy should be set in place to highlight the opportunities and risks of new technology. The study, in return, provides a framework for governments to follow, which includes several stages of workforce planning.First, the government must take a “futureback” approach to define the desired citizen experience and outcomes in five years’ time, to analyse the possible

Arnauld Bertrand

Julie McQueen

Governments will need mechanisms for sourcing, vetting, onboarding, and managing a non-permanent workforce

paths to achieve this, and the risks and opportunities of each. Then, they must work backwards to understand the current strategic and tactical implications and priorities. The future digital government organisational structure and transformation strategy must also be defined to achieve the vision, outlining the roles and skills needed to deliver it. Third, there must be a comprehensive evaluation of the existing workforce, mining demographic and HR data for insights into employee skills, performance, and potential attrition rates. Fourth, the governments must evaluate short-, medium-, and longterm workforce needs, considering new roles and capabilities. Then, the fifth stage involves modelling projected gaps and creating new job profiles. The report also noted that to fill the skills gap, the government should upskill and reskill, bringing in new long-term and contingent talent and deploying resources as needed across different departments and agencies. Lastly, the government must continue to assess the multiyear impact of emerging technologies, plot “technology disruption curves,” and continually recast existing roles and create new ones. Adaptive workforce planning By using advanced data analytics and automation, governments can forecast future needs and ensure they possess the right skills and capabilities to meet them. One way to improve adaptive workforce planning is to use cloudbased tools to help integrate data from multiple internal and external sources. In the future, governments will need to be able to deploy resources on demand to bring in the right skills for different departments and projects. Another way to access the right skills and capabilities is to forge external partnerships with organisations that can help supply skilled staff. As the use of gig workers increases, governments can also employ freelancers, contractors, and secondees from other sectors for shorter-term, project-based roles. To make the most of these opportunities, governments will need mechanisms for sourcing, vetting, onboarding, and managing a non-permanent workforce. This necessitates hiring based on capabilities rather than defined roles, and building speedier recruitment processes.


Young gen to push gov’ts to fast-track digital infrastructures Forty-four percent of adults would like to access public services seamlessly through different channels. GLOBAL


he appeal of easy, fast, and efficient public services through digitalisation is evident in emerging markets in India, Malaysia, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico, as they hurriedly move online. According to the Ernst & Young (EY) Connected Citizens survey, based on the views of over 13,000 people in 13 countries, 44% of adults in emerging markets would like to access public services seamlessly through different channels, and 66% would welcome a single digital identification (ID) when dealing with the government. Citizens in emerging economies are also more optimistic than those in developed countries about how technology can improve how they interact with public services. In Malaysia, 76% of the population holds this opinion, whilst in India and Brazil, 73% and 63%, respectively, believe that digital technology can improve public services. These numbers could be attributed to the young age profile

Other countries need to accelerate their strategies to ensure that no one is left behind.

Arturas Piliponis

Diligent Striders’ tech access to public services

Source: EY Connected Citizens survey

of many emerging and developing markets. About 90% of people under 30 live outside developed world economies, and 40% of the workforce will be Gen Z by 2030. According to the Connected Citizens research, these young people are far more likely to be “Diligent Strivers” — aspirational urbandwellers who expect seamless digital government services and are keen to take advantage of what technology can offer to get ahead in life. To meet these citizen expectations, governments in emerging markets need to improve their digital infrastructure. The good news is that this is happening — Latin America is one example. The latest UN E-Government Survey now places Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay amongst the world’s more advanced digital economies. However, other countries need to accelerate their strategies to ensure that no one is left behind. The health of public finances is not the only explanation for the

digital divide in emerging markets. Political will, strategic leadership, and a country’s ideological commitment to providing digital services also influence the speed of adoption. Countries with these three attributes can speed up their development of digital infrastructure and services, which will fuel economic development. But, according to EY research, citizen participation is also a critical factor. The findings of the Connected Citizens survey show that there is a deep desire by citizens in emerging markets to use digital tools to access public services and connect with the government. To capitalise on this demand, governments must prioritise the development of their digital infrastructure and services. Digital inequality persists globally According to new figures from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), “vast swaths” of the global population are currently excluded from the online experience. “Whilst the number of internet users surged from just a few million in the early 1990s to almost 5 billion today, 2.9 billion people remain totally offline,” says the ITU’s Global Connectivity Report 2022. The report also notes that many hundreds of millions more worldwide struggle with expensive, poor-quality internet access that does little to materially improve their lives. This inequality risks exacerbating existing imbalances and goes against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of “reducing inequality within and amongst countries.” To achieve this goal, governments will need to focus on installing robust internet infrastructure, digitalising services, and recruiting skilled public servants to fulfil these services. According to EY Digital Leader for EU institutions, Arturas Piliponis, “You need the core enablers of digital government: connectivity, digital identity, interoperability and data registries. It’s hard work, but without these coupled with a user-centric service design approach, you cannot build effective digital services and, respectively, a digital state.” To read the full story, go to https:// GOVMEDIA 9


McKinsey calls for ‘disability markers’ in health e-records Specification helps providers and policymakers devise equitable solutions. APAC


ealthcare providers should add “disability markers” in their existing electronic health records to improve healthcare services for people with disabilities, who are facing low life expectancy, experts from McKinsey Health Institute and The Missing Billion Initiative said. In a recent data review, McKinsey Health Institute showed that between 2009 and 2023, 63 out of 188 economies had no data sets with functional-difficulty questions that would assess a patient’s difficulty in completing tasks. “We see a lot of potential for [these countries] to add these markers to compare [people with disabilities’] health needs, health status, and outcomes of people with different types of disabilities,” Amn Nasir, engagement manager for McKinsey Health Institute, told Healthcare Asia. “Also, to compare the outcomes of people with and without disabilities, [so] that governments are better able to provide care and serve the health

If there’s this failure of data and evidence, that can be a failure to act. On the other hand, if that evidence is available, then it can provide a stimulus for action

Data analysis may aid accommodations for appointment times or delivery modes (Photo from Pexels)


needs of people with disabilities,” added Nasir. Hannah Kuper, lead on evidence and research of The Missing Billion Initiative, said better data for people with disabilities can address the gap of reduced life expectancy for such patients. The lack of data points to life expectancy of disabled patients, who were found to die at least 15 years earlier than average. “If there’s this failure of data and evidence, that can be a failure to act. On the other hand, if that evidence is available, then it can provide a stimulus for action,” Kuper told Healthcare Asia. One of the best examples of enhancing data for disability is South Korea, which implements a national disability registration system linked to electronic medical records and national health insurance data. “For example, if I were a policymaker in their health ministry, I could use this data to identify the differences in cervical cancer care for women with and without

disabilities, and can pinpoint exactly where in that care journey a woman with disabilities could face inequities in care, such as lower screening, and then devise policies that help address these specific gaps,” said Nasir. A healthcare company can boost its reputation for inclusivity, improving the value proposition to customers who may be willing to carry on a long-term relationship. Data from McKinsey showed that over 1.3 billion people are living with disabilities all over the world. Tools for helping the disabled Aside from disability markers, Nasir pointed out that data collection is also needed to enhance data for disabled patients’ services. Take the UK, for example, where a voluntary registry is made available for people with learning disabilities. This sector can be better served with longer appointments and the use of accessible communication material to aid them in making decisions regarding their healthcare needs. Conducting surveys is also necessary, even by using simple technology such as tablets and mobile phones, said Nasir. Meanwhile, to bridge the gaps in data usage and analysis, there is potential to use machine learning, advanced analytics, and geospatial mapping to analyze health data. Using these tools will help healthcare providers correlate disability health data to other relevant information like social economics, for example. Identifying the linkages between all of these issues and then publishing the comprehensive data would be useful for policymaking. For Kuper, healthcare delivery for disabled patients can be enhanced by using tools and technology such as integrating sign language interpretation. She cited Malaysia as one of the best examples among Asian countries, where smartphone applications were developed to support people undergoing rehabilitation after a stroke. Also, India leads in telemedicine delivery. On the professional development end, technology can also be used for training healthcare workers through the use of online modules, AI practice tools, and peer support networks.

REPORT: HEALTHCARE Incentives for registration The study also indicated that data can be improved by encouraging a high percentage of registries from disabled patients. Kuper said some countries, even in Asia, offer disability allowances which can be a great mechanism to link this incentive to healthcare data. “[A] great example [is] South Korea’s health insurance creating a marker on disability, and that can be linked. So, that provides a good avenue that we need to think about purpose either increasing the purpose for registration or trying to link registers where people are getting a benefit to the health data,” she said. “I do think though, that the future really is in using these large electronic health records, and perhaps using AI or machine learning to come up with disability markers because we’ll never be in a situation where all people with disabilities are registered,” she added. Stakeholders’ funding Stakeholders, including government, donors, and funders, can also help bridge the gap in disability care by providing funding.

Amn Nasir

Hannah Kuper

The government should include a funding line to add disability questions on surveys, according to the study. Now, the maturity level for this project type is still low. Donors should also fund technical assistance and analytical capacity for national disability as well as health surveys, read the study. In addition to this, the donors should also “fund research and advocacy to align on best practices for data collection and analysis, including the criteria for a person to be determined as having a disability.” Hiring more disabled people The study also revealed that physicians are not confident in working with people with disabilities. Negative attitudes from healthcare workers can harm patients with disabilities. Examples include assuming a visually impaired woman with HIV does not need family planning or neglecting a hearingimpaired man who missed audio cues. During crises, people with disabilities may be unfairly deemed less deserving of care, such as

ventilator removal in some US states during the pandemic or automatic “do not resuscitate” notices for COVID-19 patients in the UK with learning disabilities. To address this, Kuper advised an increase in accessibility of healthcare facilities to ensure that people with disabilities can come into the buildings and use the equipment and toilets. Healthcare providers must also have a strong partnership with persons with disabilities that will help doctors better understand the needs of these patients. Finally, Kuper underscored the employment of people with disabilities to support these patients and raise awareness of their unique conditions. In Singapore, there is a growing interest in employing people with disabilities. Over 700 employers had offered 2,000 jobs between 2018 and 2022, according to SG Enable, the focal agency for disability. Accenture’s research also showed that companies leading in disability inclusion outperformed their competitors, with 45 of the firms reporting 28% higher revenue.



Overhauling healthcare model answer to Bangladesh’s oldest population woes The World Bank reported one in ten citizens will be 60 years old by 2025. BANGLADESH


ith the lack of accessible and affordable care for the ageing population in Bangladesh, a report by the World Bank called for reshaping elderly care by setting up a primary healthcare service model (PHC). The PHC model, encouraged by the World Health Organization, can fully support the needs of the elderly by training the workforce on information communication technologies and older adult care as well as comprehensive health needs instead of treatment and maintenance of individual diseases. “This strategy focuses on the provision of clinical services, intending to improve the health of people, and acknowledges the critical role people’s preferences and needs should play in shaping service provision and utilization,” read the report. More often, national health policies and regulations focus on early years but WHO encouraged that healthcare interventions should be implemented in every age. Another way to rethink elderly care in Bangladesh is by investing in an output-based budget for older adults’ health, the World Bank pointed out. In the market, out-of-pocket expenses grew by more than 50% between 2005 and 2016, across all households. Whilst adult care in the private sector is available, it is expensive and health insurance coverage for employees is also limited and would end by retirement age. “Cost-saving measures can be implemented in parallel, such as involving non-health ministries and enforcing clear guidelines on payment mechanisms,” read the report. Also, digital health technology in the economy can be leveraged by enhancing accessibility of care and long-term care for the elderly. For example, telemedicine can help older adults with mobility issues to see their doctors remotely at home. The World Bank’s forecast showed that by 2025, one in every 12 GOVMEDIA

An inclusive and holistic approach is needed for elderly care (Photo by Jahangir Alam Onuchcha on Shutterstock)

It acknowledges the critical role people’s preferences and needs should play in shaping service provision and utilization

ten citizens in the country will be 60 years old. This figure is also expected to double by 2050. Fragmented health data Another issue with taking care of older adults is the fragmentation of data collection and restricted data sharing and analysis driven by storing data in different types of software. “Non-communicable disease (NCD) data are collected and managed as per the national protocol under the NCDC program for hypertension and diabetes control, but different development partners support such activities with different types of software,” read the report. To overcome this, the World Bank suggested improving record keeping by immediate digitisation of NonCommunicable Disease Control programme activities. There should also be a medical information system deployed with open-source software to cut costs, integrate with an existing 2 District Health Information System platform and provide an intuitive user experience. “The database should maintain individual health records to ensure long-term patient care. It should provide disease tracking, patient follow-up through mobile text messaging, and telemedicine

functionality,” read the report. “Importantly, the database must capture facility-based service provision data so that the programme can be monitored, assessed, and adjusted to meet patients’ healthcare needs,” it added. Patient counselling and health education World Bank also emphasised the need for health education and counselling for the physical and mental health of older adults. PHC facilities must help the elderly understand healthy lifestyle tips, health risk prevention, and the importance of NCD screening in the patient waiting area. Counselling services for senior citizens during visits are also essential, especially for those dealing with multimorbidity and disability. The report indicated that seniors in Bangladesh’s rural areas face mental health service gaps due to the absence of healthcare packages for older adults in rural PHC facilities. “It was observed that even in settings where patients receive support for managing NCDs and other chronic diseases, few services address the growing need for mental health support, including but not limited to counselling,” read the report.


AI-driven Malaysia Healthcare Intel to refine priorities The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council is working with industry players to look at the best practices for AI integration MALAYSIA


ith AI taking centre stage in healthcare, cybersecurity concerns are arising, prompting the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and other industry players to form the Malaysia Healthcare Intel (MHI) as part of its digitalisation initiatives to enhance healthcare delivery in the market. “[AI] will look at how we can create predictive data in the future specifically to understand the new demands and the new needs of patients around the region. Through the [MHI] system, it will allow us to have a clear pathway to which treatment type we should be focusing more on and addressing the markets that require those treatment types,” said MHTC Interim CEO Farizal Jaafar. One-stop portal The intel is still in the pipeline but MHTC, a Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) programme that promotes the Malaysia healthcare brand, has also introduced other digitalisation initiatives to improve healthcare travellers’ experience and treatment in the Southeast Asian country. This includes the healthcare one-stop portal or OSP, which serves as Malaysia healthcare’s digital front door providing comprehensive information to facilitate seamless planning for healthcare travellers. The OSP also promotes healthcare travel industry advancement and MHTC is developing integrated resource platforms such as the Malaysia healthcare resource, and an all-in-one integrated repository, providing insights into Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry and informed decision-making. Another MHTC initiative is the flagship medical tourism hospital programme. It eyes to raise global healthcare icons and set new

It will allow us to have a clear pathway to which treatment type we should be focusing more on

standards in medical excellence, and international branding for healthcare with the support of the MOH and programme assessors such as Joint Commission International and IQVIA, which unifies the hospital network into a communication and collaboration platform. The programme has shortlisted four finalists through a 51-perimetre assessment. The finalists include National Hair Institute, Island Hospital, Mahkota Medical Center, and Subang Jaya Medical Center and are currently “undergoing a three-year calibration plan through structured masterclasses mentorship, and customised acceleration program development,” Jaafar said. Complement not compete In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore are the

top medical destinations. Based on experts’ observations, Thailand and Malaysia are markets that offer cheaper medical checkups. “Treatment costs are significantly affordable, regulated by a fee schedule and ceiling prices, making it a costeffective option compared to other regional countries,” said Jaafar. However, he noted that they see every nation as a complementing component to develop the regional strength of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a destination for healthcare travel. “Whilst Singapore may be strong in certain areas, Malaysia is also focusing on areas where we also bring up the key deliverables in terms of medical excellence, service excellence, and international branding,” said Jaafar. On the demands of medical tourists, Jaafar said the MHTC and its stakeholders offer “hyperpersonalised and customised services to patients.” “One such example is through our premium wellness packages, which combines premium healthcare screening with wellness experiences with exciting tourism adventures,” Jaafar elaborated. To read the full story, go to https://

Farizal Jaafar, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council CEO



Data security concerns affect public confidence in government services Addressing the issue should be beyond technology and involve workforce training.



eople’s concerns over the security of their personal information impact their views and confidence in public service experiences, said a new report by Accenture. Protecting and securing data must become a priority as governments aim to build trust with citizens. According to the report, 53% of people are comfortable sharing more data with agencies if it means more efficient and convenient service delivery. However, only 49% of people are confident that agencies are using data for what they say. Additionally, only 33% of public servants claim to receive cyber and data security training. Gaps in confidence “This scepticism reveals a troubling confidence gap. It’s fair to assume that most people intuitively understand there are very real threats to government assets, websites, and infrastructure given the world we live in. Closing this confidence gap is key to making people feel more comfortable accessing public services,” the report said. It stresses that addressing the data security issue goes beyond technology and is also a critical training issue for the agency workforce. Whilst employee learning cannot change public confidence, it can help prevent future breaches that may further erode public trust. Training approaches should go beyond regulatory requirements and incorporate engaging content and human-centred learning models since human fallibility is every organization’s most significant security risk. “Agencies that deliver secure experiences are creating a strong foundation for trust that can ultimately influence how individuals view government,” the report added. The report also highlighted a comprehensive strategy encompassing both immediate and long-term actions across pivotal 14 GOVMEDIA

Top preferred channels for accessing government information

Source: Accenture: Public service through a new lens

Most people intuitively understand there are very real threats to government assets, websites, and infrastructure given the world we live in


areas, aimed at achieving simplicity, humanity, and security in public service delivery. Four pivotal areas Firstly, Accenture emphasised optimising the utilisation of digital tools to enhance both the public and employee experiences. Immediate initiatives include conducting user experience assessments and standardising approaches to digital identity within government sectors. For the long haul, the focus is on tracking innovative methods to elevate digital interactions, collaborating on advanced digital identity solutions like digital wallets, and ensuring employees are equipped with consistent access to necessary resources. The second area is about co-designing services with the public. This involves tapping into genuine public insights rather than mere assumptions. Shortterm recommendations include implementing exit surveys after service, championing humancentred designs, and diversifying methods of obtaining feedback, such as through digital journaling. In the long-term, it is about bolstering channels of communication between the public and agencies, leveraging

community organisations for broader outreach, and the ambitious establishment of a multi-disciplinary, human-centred design studio. Empowering the workforce is the third strategic area. The immediate need is to conduct a thorough skills assessment, swiftly address training gaps, and nurture a diverse and inclusive working environment. Looking further ahead, the strategy calls for the expansion of training partnerships, the introduction of cutting-edge training mediums, and the automation of mundane tasks, thereby allowing employees to engage in more meaningful work. Fourthly, the report underscores the importance of fostering robust partnerships, urging a shift from a traditionally government-centric to a more people-centric service approach. Immediate steps involve identifying potential barriers to forging partnerships, piloting collaborations with private sector entities, and ensuring that public communication genuinely resonates with user needs. Long-term strategies point towards the creation of comprehensive roadmaps for crossagency partnerships, streamlining operational collaborations with the private sector, and centralising content development to avoid information silos.


How markets can transform their food systems Public-private partnerships and policy interventions could support food systems.


hen food fails, everything fails.” In an urgent call to action, countries are urged to overhaul their food systems for the health of the citizens and benefit of the economy through a joint report by the World Economic Forum and Bain & Company. This is despite the apparent success of the food and agribusiness industries, food systems today fall short of providing nutritious diets, supporting dignified livelihoods, and adapting to climate change while safeguarding biodiversity, according to Geraldine Matchett, co-chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Royal DSM in the Netherlands. The “Food, Nature, and Health Transitions − Repeatable Country Models” report attributes more than 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and over 80% of deforestation and biodiversity loss to food and agriculture. It also reveals that an estimated one-third of all food goes to waste, yet up to 2.3 billion people face moderate or severe food insecurity, a figure worsened by recent crises. Additionally, more than one billion people are obese, and diet-related diseases rank amongst the world’s leading risk factors for mortality, whilst two-thirds of working adults living in poverty rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Early movers The report highlights seven “early mover” countries that have initiated food systems transformations to improve the citizens’ health without compromising biodiversity and their livelihoods. Ethiopia, for instance, started with government-funded food systems transformation and agriculture-led economic growth by consistently allocating a high share of spending toward the agriculture sector.

When food fails, everything fails

Ethiopia’s government also established “Vision 2030: Transforming Ethiopian Food Systems,” outlining a more integrated food systems roadmap to cover broader outcomes related to nutrition, nature-positive production, equitable livelihoods, and resilience. Meanwhile, India, Vietnam, and Ghana, on the other hand, tapped small and medium enterprises (SMEs), specifically those that are farmer-allied and operating in local food chains, to improve livelihoods and enhance the capacity of small-holder farmer suppliers. This approach, the report notes that a country would have more potential to deliver and sustain better outcomes across multiple food system dimensions. Roadmap for action The report identifies key actions to accelerate progress in overhauling the food systems. It recommends that countries develop and implement an integrated food systems transformation roadmap that includes

mid- and long-term target outcomes across food system dimensions, detail a holistic set of public investments and policy interventions, and leverage public-private partnerships to accelerate action. Additionally, the report suggests prioritising high-potential, farmerallied enterprises in transformation plans, coordinating public and private financing, scaling up change faster through technology and innovation ecosystems, and mobilising the next generation of action-oriented, multi-stakeholder partnerships and coalitions. Mobilising leaders from various sectors is key. The report notes, “Delivering on the full potential of public-private and multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration will be key to accelerating transition towards better food systems.” “If countries can set clear ambitions and build integrated roadmaps for more inclusive, sustainable, healthy and resilient food systems, and if all key food system stakeholders can collectively step up and work together, it will be possible to evolve food systems in ways that nourish growing populations, build greater resilience, and enable farmers and all those engaged in these systems to live with dignity, while restoring the planet for future generations,” the report added.

Figure 1. Five dimensions of food system success

Source: World Economic Forum, Bain & Company.



What drives faster economic growth in ASEAN markets

The young population and the middle class will help boost the economy. SOUTHEAST ASIA


midst a surge in commodity prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, emerging markets in the AsiaPacific have experienced a spillover effect, causing supply disruptions and lower demand for exports, said Lan Ha, head of Economics at Euromonitor International. She also flagged that monetary tightening by the US and other markets would hamper foreign investment inflows. Ha, however, has noted that the emerging markets in the region can still expect faster economic growth on the back of several factors, including the increasing middle class, amongst others, with consumption in some major cities exceeding those from Western countries. “Despite all those downside risks, we still forecast that Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines’ economies would see a quicker economic recovery this year and next year. The short - and medium-term outlook seems to be brighter than major key economies,” Ha said, adding “In the long term, we also project emerging ASEAN economies to continue the strong growth trajectory.” The economic growth of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India will be faster than China in the next 20 years, partly driven by China’s economy becoming more mature and its waning catch-up potential, she said. Driving factors Emerging markets’ economic growth is mainly driven by four major factors: demography, the middle class, technology, and urbanisation, Ha noted. The developing markets in the region especially the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia will benefit from the demographic dividend with the young population. She noted that the median age in the region was between 25 to 33 years old in 2021, younger than 43 in developed countries. “A younger demographic 16 GOVMEDIA

Rapid technology adaptation and digital innovation will help facilitate economic activities

Lan Ha

Fransua Vytautas Razvadauskas

means the region will continue to enjoy strong labour supply, and this has to drive productivity gain and consumption growth,” she explained. The growing middle class will also contribute to driving medium - and long-term growth, and boost consumer spending and attract investments, Ha said, noting that the emerging ASEAN economies will add over 10 million middle-class households between 2021 to 2040. The region is also known for its fast digital transformation, supported by the young and tech-savvy population. Over nine in 10 households will have internet access by 2040 in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. “Rapid technology adaptation and digital innovation will help facilitate economic activities and boost productivity growth in the region,” she said. Another strong driver would be urbanisation which would support investment, education, and consumption growth. The region will see an additional 112 million people move to urban areas between 2021 to 2040. From 2000 to 2021, the emerging markets in the region added 140 million urban consumers, only behind China and India. For this year,

Average Real GDP Growth Rates in Selected Emerging Markets 2000-2040

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics, IMF, IFS Note: Data from 2021 onwards are forecasts.

the urban population is expected to surpass the rural population, the first time it is recorded, said Fransua Vytautas Razvadauskas, head of Cities Research at Euromonitor. By 2040, the emerging ASEAN’s urban population will reach 450 million, accounting for around 11% of the world’s population. However, he noted that the rate of urbanisation in the region varies, citing Myanmar with only 32% of the population in urban areas in 2021, compared to 58% in Indonesia. Razvadauskas also said that the emerging markets in the region are “frontrunners in income and economic growth,” adding that the urban disposable incomes will more than double from 2021 to 2040 due to rapid economic growth. “Indeed, rising income growth in tandem with growing urbanisation is expected to make the ASEAN region a major hub for consumption in the future,” he said. Opportunities and challenges The economic growth potential has presented areas for opportunities the emerging markets can leverage such as the diversification of the supply chain. Ha also said the pandemic sped up the moves made by global businesses to shift to more local and regional production to limit the complexity and become closer to end-consumers, which will benefit the ASEAN market. To read the full story, go to https://


Existing power plants will forcibly be repurposed to burn biomass or ammonia

3 major hurdles to achieving Vietnam’s PDP8 energy goals

The country is on an expensive path, requiring an estimated $134.7b to meet its comprehensive energy targets. VIETNAM


ietnam may be advancing towards its recently approved Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8), but experts caution that this transition comes with a hefty price tag—requiring investments of approximately $134.7b by 2030. “This ambition could lead to an expensive pathway for Vietnam to achieve its national energy and climate objectives,” Victor Nian, CEO of Centre for Strategic Energy and Resources told Asian Power. This is just one of the three areas of concern experts identify as the country works to reduce its reliance on coal and eventually phase it out by 2050, under PDP8. Investment capital Of around $134.7b to meet the power sources and transmission grid development for the 2021–2030 period, around $119.8b will be for power sources and $14.9b for transmission grids. For the 2031–2050 period, the country would need between $399.2b and $523.1b of investments, of which around $364.4b–$511.2b will be allotted for power sources,

Operators should start to prepare and make early plans to stay profitable

Victor Nian

Cao Yanqi

whilst $34.8–$38.6b will be for transmission grids. Renewables, even projects with energy storage options, may still be insufficient and not “economical enough” to justify the massive replacement of coal. This could also affect the grid, Nian said. Phasing out coal amid a power shortage poses significant challenges, primarily involving costly grid improvements and energy storage solutions. Economic repercussions Vietnam could face economic challenges such as its potential to attract sufficient foreign direct investment, international support, and encourage domestic investors to support the goal. “There could also be regulatory barriers associated with Vietnam’s ambition to include hydrogen and ammonia in the energy mix. In the absence of a robust regulatory framework, it will be difficult to finance hydrogen, ammonia or related projects due to safety and other risks associated with such projects,” Nian said.

It will be difficult for the country to implement the necessary policies to attract sufficient investments for its renewable targets whilst avoiding severe transmission issues that are caused by large wind and solar installations, which happened from 2018 to 2021, Cao Yanqi, analyst on APAC Power and Renewables Research at WoodMackenzie said. In attracting investors for gas and renewable projects, it is important to provide assurance for project off taking, Nian stressed. He added that Vietnam should be able to provide some form of guarantee to investors on power purchase agreements from wind or solar power projects. The government should be able to identify projects that could secure renewable energy certificates or carbon credits and enable green financing for them. Achieving this would require Vietnam, as well as the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to speed up the development of a taxonomy that will indicate “regionally appropriate technologies and solutions” that would include nuclear and carbon capture and storage. Converting coal plants Under the plan, the capacity of coal thermal power is expected to reach around 30 megawatts, comprising 20% of its total power plant capacity by 2030. But in 2050, the country aims to no longer generate electricity from coal power plants. The plan also only allows projects under the adjusted Power Master Plan VII and under construction until 2030 to be carried out. Also, plants with a lifespan of over 40 years are mandated to stop operations and, if not, convert to biomass and ammonia for lower carbon emissions. This means that no new coal-fired power plants will be built in Vietnam, whilst the existing power plants will be forced to be repurposed to burn biomass or ammonia. Otherwise, they risk their plants’ shutdown after the end of their lifelines, Nian said. “This means a number of coalfired power plant operators will need to start looking for solutions for retrofitting and at the same time looking for supply of alternative fuels (i.e. biomass or ammonia) to continue their presence in the market,” he said. GOVMEDIA 17


HK’s new tax bill sets to woo Asia’s financial elite

Experts say the city’s tax incentive regime is less stringent than Singapore’s. HONG KONG


igh-net worth individuals and affluent families in Asia are being lured back to Hong Kong with a new bill that offers tax concessions for familyowned investment holding vehicles (FIHV) and single-family offices (SFOs). The bill lays out different requirements for FIHVs and SFOs to be exempted from profits tax, said Alice Leung, partner at KPMG China who specialises on tax and private enterprise. Requirements One of the requirements both FIHVs and SFOs must meet to be eligible for the concessionary profits tax rate of 0% is that they should be managed or controlled in Hong Kong. At least 95% of the beneficial interests of the FIHV and SFO must also be held by the family. “This could be lower to 75% if the remaining 25% interest is held by approved charities in Hong Kong,” Leung said. “A tax-exempt charitable entity under the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Ordinance is allowed to hold up to 25% of beneficial interest, direct or indirect, in an SFO and/ or an FIHV without tainting the tax concession available to the FIHV,” explained Deloitte Private Hong Kong Leader Anthony Lau. Both the FIHV and SFO must also be managed by or controlled in Hong Kong to be

A ‘non-taxexempt’ transaction would not taint the taxexempt profits from the other transaction

Alice Leung

Anthony Lau

exempt from profits tax. SFOs must also be a private company, but can be incorporated in or outside the city. Other requirements which FIHVs must meet include having at least two full-time qualified employees and at least HK$2m (US$256,278) of local operating expenditure, which can also be outsourced to the SFO. There is no specific requirement on the qualification of the employees to be employed by the FHIV. SFOs, on the other hand, must manage specified assets owned by the family, through FIHVs, of at least HK$240m (US$30.75m), said Leung. Lower fund size threshold Compared to other tax concession regimes in the region, Lau said Hong Kong’s fund size threshold of HK$240m (US$30.75m) is “relatively low” in comparison to what is set out in Singapore’s Enhanced Tier Fund Tax Exemption Scheme under Section 13U of the Income Tax Act 1947. Under Singapore’s Section 13U regime, the fund size requirement is around HK$280m (SG$50m). SFOs are also required to have a local investment of at least 10% of the asset under management or HK$58m (SG$10m), whichever is lower. “The family office regime in Hong Kong has a low threshold regarding fund size and has no local investment

Hong Kong is working its way to becoming the preferred hub of high-net-worth individuals and affluent families in Asia (Photo by Manson Yim from Unsplash)


requirement,” Lau said. Lau, however, underscored that the tax exemption only applies to transactions in “specified assets.” These assets include investments in listed securities, futures contracts/ derivative products, and collective investment schemes. Private equities are also included, but “under certain conditions,” said Lau. Transactions incidental to the carrying out of tax-exempt deals may also qualify for exemption from profits tax, albeit subject to a 5% threshold. “Direct investments in crypto assets, insurance contracts, antiques, art pieces, wine, etc. would not qualify as ‘tax-exempt’ transactions outright,” Lau said. “In any case, a ‘non-tax-exempt’ transaction would not taint the tax-exempt profits from the other transactions,” he added. Challenges SFOs who wish to enjoy the profits tax concession the Hong Kong government is offering may have to undergo “restructuring,” said Lau. Citing an example, Lau said: “If an FIHV currently employs in-house investment professionals to manage the FIHV’s assets, it may need to create a separate SFO to employ those investment professionals.” “If they intend to rely on the tax concession, they may have to revisit their current corporate structure and operating model, and review and maintain proper documentation to support their tax-exempt status,” he added. The Deloitte expert also advised SFOs to study the regime carefully and seek professional advice whether they could enjoy the tax concession. “The law contains various provisions imposing requirements on FIHV, SFO, types of transactions that can qualify for tax concession, etc. and with certain anti-round tripping and anti-avoidance provisions as well. Its interpretation and application may not be straightforward, and the devil is in the details,” he said. There are also parts of the scheme that need further clarification, including “how the thresholds for the substance requirement should be determined if there are multiple FIHVs in a SFO structure,” said Lau. To read the full story, go to https://


HK must act to keep its global maritime hub status afloat As of 2023, Hong Kong maintains a 2.4% share of the world fleet in terms of vessel numbers and 6.27% share in terms of value.


n striving to maintain its status as a global maritime hub, Hong Kong stands at a crucial crossroads this year, recognising the need for more than just a profit tax regime to lure in more shipping companies. Experts, such as Dr. Eugene Wong from The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, point out that more work has to be done for companies to set up headquarters in the city and for more vessels to fly its flag. Hong Kong Business interviewed Wong, associate head and associate professor at the university’s Department of Supply Chain and Information Management, on the sidelines of the recent Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference 2023 held during the Hong Kong Maritime Week. Incentivising new offices Wong explained the government should consider offering shipping lines incentives for setting up offices in the city. “This could favour shipping lines to come here to Hong Kong as far as setting up offices because in the past, there have been one or two companies [which] has already moves from Hong Kong to nearby countries,” he said. The government should also look into incentivising and strengthening other areas of shipping. He cited the need for arbitration and operation activities such as vessel planning and container flow planning because these activities actually happen in Hong Kong. At present, Hong Kong’s half-rates profit tax regime covers carriage and chartering, ship agency, ship management or ship broking activities, and ship leasing activities. Wong said Hong Kong could learn from Nansha, Guangzhou in the Mainland, which awards shipping enterprises that have routes passing through its port, or having achieved a certain throughput level.

If we cannot bunker in 10 years’ time, shipping lines will not come to Hong Kong; cargoes will not be here


As sustainability and decarbonisation are also key issues in the shipping industry, Wong suggested that the government establish some kind of “environmental initiatives” related to carbon footprint or use of renewable energies. New tax rates Whilst there are more that Hong Kong can do to attract shipping players, Wong underscored that the city’s current half-rates profit tax has also been beneficial to the industry. Willy Lin, chairman of the Hong Kong Shippers’ Council, shared a similar sentiment saying the half-rates profit tax regime can help Hong Kong in its goal to encourage flagging. Data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that as of September 2023, Hong Kong is the fifth-largest shipowning market in the world. With 2,537 vessels flying its flag, Hong Kong accounts for 2.4% of the world fleet in terms of vessel numbers. In terms of value, Hong Kong ranks sixth, with vessels flying its flag representing a 6.27% share in the world fleet. More than the incentives, Lin said Hong Kong is working to make maritime services of “quality” to

attract ship owners to come to the city. “We [do] not only want them to come, but we want them to utilise Hong Kong’s quality service. In the past couple of years, actually, Hong Kong [has] embarked on not only trying to maintain a maritime center, we’re always trying to support the higher value added maritime services like maritime arbitration, shipping financing, [and] shipping insurance,” Lin said. Apart from maritime arbitration and dispute resolution and ship financing and leasing, and marine insurance, InvestHK said Hong Kong is also developing high-end maritime services for ship brokers and ship agents, and on ship management and chartering. Making all other maritime services of quality and of high standard alongside a tax regime will be a good package to attract shipowners to register their ships in Hong Kong, added Lin. According to InvestHK, What could help Hong Kong further sail as a top player in the maritime industry is if it begins bunkering of sustainable fuels. In the 2023 Policy Address, Chief Executive John Lee said Hong Kong will press ahead with the provision of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering for ocean-going vessels. “If we cannot bunker in 10 years’ time, shipping lines will not come to Hong Kong, cargoes will not be here. So it’s important that the government recognise the importance of bunkering. This is basically the big boat,” Lin said.

The Modern Terminals Port in Hong Kong (Photo by Noreen Jazul)



Transport think tank presents ways to decarbonise freight transport system ITF’s recommendations, coupled with PH policies, may halve the freight sector’s carbon emissions by 2050.

Expanding port capaciy is a key recommendation by the ITF (Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels)


ike many other countries struggling to reduce carbon emissions and meet their climate targets, the Philippines’ freight sector alone emitted around 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2022. It is at this crucial time that the International Transport Forum (ITF) has recommended several policies to help the country decarbonise this particular sector. Whilst the Philippines has transport policies in place, including electric-vehicle adoption, these will not be enough to bring down the CO2 emission of its freight transport, which is projected to more than quadruple in 2050. If the Philippines only follows its current policies, the CO2 emissions of its freight emissions will grow by 151% to 50 million tonnes. Through the ITF’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme in Asia (SIPA), the transport think tank was able to come up with two sets of additional policies for the Philippines, one that focuses on building a green fleet, and another that promotes seamless intermodality. The ITF unveiled its policy recommendations during its 20 GOVMEDIA

By investing in port capacity expansions and maximising utilisation of existing assets, the maritime transport sector can capture a higher modal share

dissemination mission agenda held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on 25 April. The event was attended by members of the ITF led by SecretaryGeneral Young Tae Kim, officials of the Department of Transportation, the Land Transportation Office, and the the Climate Change Commission, and private stakeholders that included Clean Air Asia and International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Under its “Green Fleet” recommendation, ITF advised the Philippines to replace truck fleets with zero-emission vehicles. To do so, the ITF recommended the identification of use cases for early adoption of zeroemission trucks and to incentivise companies for fleet conversion. “Supporting pilot projects and offering purchase subsidies for electric trucks can promote low-carbon technologies in road transport,” the ITF said. It also recommended that the Philippines adopt fuel economy standards for trucks. “Fuel economy standards can promote fuel-saving measures such as aerodynamic

retrofits, vehicle wish reductions, engine efficiency improvements, and hybridisation,” the ITF said. To make a greener freight transport system, the think tank also recommended the renewal of vessel fleets. It underscored the importance of implementing differentiated port fees that depend on the environmental performance of vessels. The second set of ITF recommendations focuses on improving the intermodality in the country’s freight transport system. Under this area of focus, the think tank advised the Philippines to increase port capacity; decrease dwell times at cargo transfer points by streamlining and digitalising processes; and promote and incentivise asset sharing between key players. By investing in port capacity expansions and maximising utilisation of existing assets, the maritime transport sector can capture a higher modal share in the country’s freight transport system. At best, the ITF hopes these measures, coupled with the Philippines’ current policies, could cut the local freight sector’s carbon emissions by half come 2050. It is confident that green fleet measures, in particular, can reduce carbon intensity of freight by 61%, whilst the seamless intermodality scenario can reduce the sector’s emissions by 21%. Adopting from others Kim said the Philippines can also learn from other countries with regard to decarbonising their freight transport system, particularly from Europe. “On the European Union side, they are trying to bring regulation…they are trying to ban all fossil fuel vehicles by a certain deadline…starting 2035. Interestingly, China and the United Arab Emirates, which have depended a lot on fossil fuel in the past, are also starting to introduce a new approach,” Kim told GovMedia.


Revised rules bolster Korean banks’ competition, but no silver bullet to thriving Authorities are making it easier for banks to own and buy companies overseas.


outh Korea’s recent moves to ease ownership of financial institutions will drive competitiveness amongst regional banks, but don’t expect a big shake up in the market share, analysts told Asian Banking & Finance. In July, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) floated plans to ease rules in foreign ownership and even ownership of non-finance entities. Examples listed by the FSC include a local insurance company being allowed to own a foreign bank operating in an overseas market; or a credit finance business being able to acquire a rental car business in an overseas market. The FSC has also proposed easing rules on the maximum level of credit that a local financial company can extend to its foreign subsidiary for a certain period of time. Notably, domestic regional banks may now apply to expand into nationwide commercial banks, provided that they meet certain requirements such as having sufficient financial resources. Boosting competition The proposed revisions, when passed, will also pave the way for mergers between savings banks, which will bolster their competitiveness, according to Gary Ng, senior economist at Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking. “Allowing regional banks to operate nationally should boost competition, product offerings, and innovation for SMEs and consumers,” Ng said. This enhanced flexibility, though, is unlikely to cause a major shakeup in the Korean banking industry. What it does is create the opportunity for regional banks to expand their operations. “Regional banks’ assets only grew 5.8% annually between 2017–2022, whilst the nationwide commercial banks enjoyed a faster growth rate of 7.8%,” Ng pointed out. “If regional banks can now attract deposits

Allowing regional banks to operate nationally should boost competition, product offerings, and innovation for SMEs and consumers

Gary Ng

with higher interest rates nationally, they can expand their operations more easily.” If the goal were to stimulate competition and cut the dominance of big players, experts are skeptical that easing the rules would change the status quo. Jinho Ryu, EY partner and Korea Banking & Capital Markets leader, said that the five nationwide banks will still remain dominant even after the FSC will have introduced the changes. “It would take time for new nationwide players to have enough impact to boost competition amongst major firms,” Ryu said, noting that five local banks make up 73% of the market share in the country. In the short term, new players who enter the market are expected to concentrate on markets that existing commercial banks do not put a lot of effort into, such as mid-low credit borrowers, precisely to avoid competition. Ng echoed this sentiment. “More flexible

arrangements do not necessarily mean the current regional banks can replace the large players easily, especially as they only comprise 11% of total banks’ assets. It shows the constraints that it is hard for them to attract large clients,” he said. The regional banks and digital banks — which make up 3.5% of total assets in South Korea — are likely to remain focused on servicing small-and-medium enterprises and households in the near future. “In addition, having a more physical presence is great, but technology is a game changer nowadays, and capital can be very mobile with competition also from virtual banks. As such, it is likely to see a large share of regional banks in the short run, but how far it will increase will depend on whether they can ultimately offer the most cost-effective or tailored solutions for their clients,” Ng said. To read the full story, go to https://

It would take time for new nationwide players to have enough impact to boost competition amongst major firms (Photo by Daniel Bernard from Unsplash)



‘Triple S’ strategy drives Thai energy transition Boonyanit Wongrukmit shared the company’s clean energy initiatives. THAILAND


n the midst of pursuing Thailand’s ambitious carbon neutrality target by 2050 and net-zero emission goals by 2065, state-owned electricity company, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), faced a significant leadership transition. Former EGAT Governor Boonyanit Wongrukmit’s imminent retirement on August 23 left behind a three-year legacy of driving the company towards carbon neutrality. “We aim at being a regional green energy infrastructure provider,” shared Wongrukmit in an exclusive interview with Asian Power. He also revealed valuable insights from his tenure at EGAT, whilst shedding light on the organization’s ongoing energy projects and the implementation of its “Triple S” strategy, which aims to reduce carbon emissions across its operations. How has EGAT performed in 2022? At the end of 2022, we had a total generating capacity of 16,920 megawatts (MW) from 53 power plants, which accounted for 34% of Thailand’s total capacity. EGAT also purchased power from independent power producers (IPPs) at 16,748 MW and from small power producers at 9,195 MW. Moreover, we imported 6,234 MW of power from neighbouring countries. Recently, we successfully commenced commercial operation of the Bang Pakong Combined Cycle Units 1 and 2 replacement projects with a capacity of 1,386 MW. For the transmission system, EGAT owns a transmission line of 38,666 circuit kilometres long with 235 high-voltage transmission stations. For the environmental indicator, the carbon dioxide reduction target for the first quarter of 2023 is at 0.1292 million tonnes (megatonnes or Mt) of carbon dioxide and it is expected to reach the goal of 3.36 Mt of carbon dioxide by the end of this year. What were the key milestones that the EGAT achieved under your leadership? There are several key milestones that we have achieved during my time as EGAT governor. Firstly, we started the commercial operation of the world’s largest hydro-floating solar hybrid project at Sirindhorn Dam with a capacity of 45 MW. This is the pioneer project to speed up the development of other similar projects with a total potential capacity of 10,416 MW. They will be EGAT’s primary renewable energy source by 2080. Secondly, EGAT established new companies under EGAT Group: INNOPOWER and InnoSpace Thailand. We aim to work with innovative start-ups to find business opportunities in the energy transition period. Next, EGAT has co-invested with PTT in the LNG terminal at the Nong-Fab Sub-district. This is to generate an 22 GOVMEDIA

Retired EGAT Governor, Boonyanit Wongrukmit (Photo from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand)

LNG supply of 7.5 Mt per year. Also, EGAT has expanded its new S-Curve business. This includes EV solutions, smart energy solutions, and LNG businesses. To support Thailand’s carbon neutrality and net-zero emission goals, EGAT has implemented the EGAT Carbon Neutrality policy. We also engaged with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and Provincial Electricity Authority to invest in Thailand’s power infrastructure to promote green energy and enhance national power security. Dealing with COVID-19, EGAT succeeded in applying work-from-home and work-from-anywhere policies. For post-COVID-19, the hybrid working policy has become our new working scheme. EGAT also established a transformation management office to digitalise our process and have a lean and efficient working system. All these achievements made us win many awards in various fields such as Best Employer Thailand 2022.

The government is actively diversifying the country’s energy mix, with a strong focus on promoting renewable energy

What were the major challenges that EGAT faced and how were you able to overcome them? During the few years that I have been EGAT governor, the energy industry has undergone important transformations. One big challenge we faced in Thailand’s energy transition is to move toward carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero emissions by 2065. The government is actively diversifying the country’s energy mix, with a strong focus on promoting renewable energy and achieving energy security and carbon neutrality. To handle this challenge, EGAT introduced a carbon neutrality strategy we call the “Triple S” approach. The first S stands for source transformation, where we focus on generating energy from lower carbon emission sources. The second S is sink co-creation, which involves

INTERVIEW various projects to absorb carbon dioxide. And the last S is the support measure mechanism where we create the energy efficiency mechanism to prevent carbon dioxide emissions. Another challenge we are facing is the fluctuating prices of oil and gas due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Since natural gas is the main fuel for generating electricity in Thailand, price fluctuations have a direct impact on the cost of electricity. We have taken several measures to handle this challenge. For example, we work with the Ministry of Energy, the Energy Regulatory Commission, and other relevant parties to closely monitor and analyse oil and gas prices. In the short term, EGAT has delayed the decommissioning of power plants with low fuel costs, such as the Mae Moh Thermal Power Plant Unit 8. We chose to use low-cost fuels like diesel and furnace oil in combined-cycle power plants instead of natural gas. For the long term, we are actively managing natural gas import portfolio to have flexibility in terms of price and quantity. I have driven many strategies that helped EGAT overcome challenges in the energy industry. Our internal corporate competency, especially in human resource management and development, has been strengthened. Employees have been encouraged to give their best effort for EGAT whilst taking care of their physical and mental well-being. We also established EGAT Group companies to expand the business and improve operational flexibility. The companies can support each other’s strengths in line with EGAT’s positioning as a provider of green energy infrastructure and strengthen the EGAT Group’s brand. To build trust and engagement from stakeholders, we believe in “win-win-win” solutions. Our focus is on flexibility and approaches that bring benefits to our involved parties. EGAT enhances the operational activities of an outstanding professional in the energy business. To expand our service to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market and become a player in future energy trading, we are focusing on high-performance projects. What have you learned in serving as the EGAT governor? I always believe that our employees are the most important and valuable resource and they serve as a driving force for the organisation. My experience as the governor of EGAT has proven what I believe is true: When people are happy, the work they produce is of high quality. Under any arising crisis or challenges that EGAT may face, with the good mindset of the people, everything becomes manageable. I have realised that no one is a competitor. They are friends and alliances and I am thankful for our collaboration. Most importantly, we cannot be a one-man show. We are a team no matter what positions we hold. We all hold equal value and play a role in driving success. How well is EGAT driving Thailand’s energy transition? We have taken part in driving Thailand towards the energy transition with four strategies. Firstly, we have strengthened the national power system through our grid modernisation and transmission predictive maintenance. This is done to support the smooth integration of growing RE. Secondly, we use the Triple S strategy to achieve our green energy and carbon neutrality goals. Under this strategy, we have developed several projects, such as the 45MW hydrofloating solar hybrid project in Sirindhorn Dam.

I always believe that our employees are the most important and valuable resource and they serve as a driving force for the organisation.

We also have an EV business solution, in which we increase the availability of EV charging stations nationwide to meet the growing demand of EV users and support the government’s policy which speeds up EV production. We are also developing hydrogen technology projects with our partners to explore new sources of power generation that have lower carbon dioxide emissions. Thirdly, we have improved our organisational competency by focusing on HR, work process and digitalisation to increase engagement with the community and stakeholders. Lastly, EGAT is finding new energy solutions to meet customer needs and improve their satisfaction. For example, since there is a growing demand for green energy from both domestic and foreign investors, we are developing green energy trading businesses and green digital solutions. These initiatives aim to attract investors by offering conditions that help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in operational activities. EGAT owns three thermal power plants. What will happen to them as the company aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and support Thailand’s net zero emissions target? Two of our thermal power plants, Bang Pakong and Krabi Power Plants are in standby mode for emergencies only. The last one is the Mae Moh thermal power plant, and that is currently operating to support the security of power supply in Northeastern Thailand. We have a plan to install carbon capture and storage technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the generation process, which will be stored deeply under the Mae Moh mining area. We expect that this project will capture carbon dioxide emissions of around 1,565 million tonnes from 2022 to 2049. Moving forward, what direction do you see EGAT taking in the next five years? We aim at being a regional green energy infrastructure provider. This is from our prediction that by 2027, green energy will play a bigger role in everyday power usage and industries will need to incorporate more green energy into their production process. Also, foreign investors will have more demands for green energy, because they are forced to contribute to the global goal of carbon neutrality. They may have financial conditions tied to reducing carbon emissions, such as lowcarbon loans or green loans.

The Bang Pakong Power Plant is set on standby mode only to reduce EGAT’s greenhouse gas emissions (Photo by AUUSanAKUL on Shutterstock)



Healthier SG cuts hospital load and spending

Grants for healthcare providers incentivize enrolment in the national programme SINGAPORE


ith the establishment of ambulatory care centres, some of Singapore’s big hospitals resolved their overwhelmed capacity. This same strategy is applied with The Ministry of Health’s Healthier SG, which seeks to place higher focus on preventive care with an ecosystem-based approach that engaged general practitioners and community care centres, offloading the burden from tertiary care hospitals. “The main idea behind Healthier SG is to shift the emphasis of the healthcare system from treatment to prevention. In the long run, this will produce better health outcomes for the population at a lower cost. For this to happen, the locus of activity needs to shift from hospitals to community care providers, particularly GPs,” Dr. Alan Ong, principal at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), told Singapore Business Review. Four goals Under the health reform, there are four goals: i) deploying family doctors for preventive care, developing health plans for lifestyle adjustments; ii) regular health screening and vaccinations, activating community partners to lead healthier lifestyles; iii) launching national enrolment exercise for residents to commit to seeing one family doctor and a health plan; and iv) setting up IT and manpower plans as well as financing measures to operate Healthier SG. Naithy Cyriac, a partner at YCP Solidiance, said the health reform also helps create a more seamless patient journey. For example, patients will first go to family doctors for preliminary health assessment; and for further consultation, they may be transfered to other tertiary hospitals. She noted that since some community care centres might not have the most sophisticated medical equipment, a bigger hospital will act on the treatment that will need advanced technology. “Instead of patients directly going to bigger hospitals, they can go to a family doctor, first, and build that relationship and trust with them,” said Cyriac, in an interview with Singapore Business Review. Another way that health reform can help big hospitals is to promote the role of primary care through smaller clinics that large private hospital networks have now been focusing on. Cyriac cited Raffles Medical Group, IHH Healthcare, and Fullerton Health as some of the healthcare groups investing in primary care facilities. “The large private hospital groups are actively engaging their customer base by sharing insights on their website and allowing residents to register interest/enrol for the Healthier SG initiative easily,” said YCP Solidiance’s Cyriac. The implementation of Healthier SG relies on the national enrolment programme, which will be in phases 24 GOVMEDIA

Naithy Cyriac, partner at YCP Solidiance

starting in the second half of 2023. The Ministry of Health will encourage residents aged 60 years and above to enroll with a family doctor in mid-2023, followed by those in the 40-59 age group in the next two years.

Instead of patients directly going to bigger hospitals, they can go to a family doctor, first, and build that relationship and trust with them

Lower healthcare spending A major goal of Healthier SG is to reduce long-term growth in healthcare expenditures. Preventive care is often substantially cheaper than treatment, whilst also resulting in better health outcomes for the population. Evidence for this comes from systems such as Kaiser Permanente which have a strong emphasis on prevention woven throughout all aspects of their interactions with patients, said BCG’s Ong. However, it is also important to recognise that cost savings will take time to materialise. Ong said the initial phases of Healthier SG will boost recommended health screening and to increase uptake of regular follow-up and management of chronic diseases. “This will have a short-term impact of increasing strain on the health care system as more people are found with medical conditions, and more people come forward for the management of their chronic conditions,” Ong said. “However, in the long run, earlier detection and intervention will result in a lower burden of disease. It is therefore important to plan with an understanding that Healthier SG will take time to show the desired outcomes of lower cost and better quality of life,” Ong explained.

INTERVIEW YCP Solidiance’s Cyriac said Healthier SG’s goal of lowering cost is a long-term effect, given the reform’s phased approach. The idea is that the reform seeks to address vulnerability to chronic disease by enabling patients to have regular annual consultations with their family doctor for early diagnosis and treatment of potential symptoms linked to chronic diseases, Cyriac said. One way of lowering the cost of healthcare under Healthier SG is also implementing more affordable drugs. This is where the pharmacist’s cooperation with GPs and family doctors will come in. “Since more people register with GPs, it will be easier to deliver the screening in a community base. For example, through local clinics, people can receive recommended diabetes screenings to identify patients’ health conditions. With the increased screening coverage, patients could be identified at an early stage,” Chia Hsuan Lin, an analyst at GlobalData, told Singapore Business Review. “It will be essential for GPs and pharmacies to provide medical consultations and personal advice,” added Lin. Spending on early-stage treatments or moderate to severe treatments is seen to increase and the government’s goal is to control the overall spending, making it more affordable, said Lin. Lowering healthcare expenses will especially help the elderly, who face severe financial burdens since they are the most vulnerable to illnesses. Geriatic health Amongst the factors that prompted the new health reform is the growing geriatric population in Singapore. One in four residents is expected to reach 65 years old and above by 2023. Singapore also observed the prevalence of chronic diseases that include hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, which went up to worryingly high levels, at 32% and 37%, respectively. Notable subsidies, according to Cyriac, include access to fully subsidised recommended screenings (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breast/cervical/colorectal cancer etc.) and vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations for 65+ years old etc.). “The first onboarding consultation with the family doctor will be free for residents. Additionally, residents will no longer need to copay part of their bills (usually 15%) when opting for MediSave for chronic care management,” she said. Expenses for yearly check-ins for family doctors will also be subsidised by the government and family doctors will receive an annual service fee, tiered based on health risk profile, scope of needed care, and progress made in preventive care or chronic disease management for the enrolled residents. “Additionally, to ensure consolidation and sharing of patient health metrics, a one-off grant will also be offered to the primary clinics to encourage digitalisation,” said YCP Solidiance’s Cyriac. GPs that are part of the primary care network (PCN) will also get funding and administrative support from the Ministry of Health (MOH). “This initiative further incentivises family doctors to join the PCN. In 2018, 340 clinics were part of the PCN and have grown to 670 clinics today compared to about 1,800 clinics in total in Singapore,” said Cyriac.

Health reform helps create a more seamless patient journey

Digital challenge HealthierSG’s IT segment will also upgrade digital health apps and wearables to decrease manual tasks and improve health diagnosis. An example is the Healthy365 (H365) app, which monitors other aspects of healthy living with a diet logging tool that tracks daily caloric intake and provides personalised feedback based on dietary patterns. But implementing advanced tech may face cybersecurity issues. A 2022 study from Philips Singapore showed that only 23% of Singaporeans are sharing their health data regularly with their doctors or healthcare providers. Amongst their top concerns are data privacy (35%) and a lack of know-how on sharing health data (20%). HealthierSG can address this challenge first, by giving patients the choice of what data may be shared, said Cyriac. “The data access is fully controlled by the patient, so they can choose what can be shared,” she added. Second is, providing a one-time grant or subsidy to help family doctors receive the upgrade and implement the digitalisation processes needed to address privacy concerns. MOH is pushing for a framework for the secure collection of health data throughout Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem as embodied in the Health Information Bill still pending approval in the Parliament. “The bill will mandate licensed healthcare providers to contribute patients’ summarised medical records into the National Electronic Health Record, so as to enable access to patients’ health data by their care teams across different settings. It will also mandate data governance, IT, and cybersecurity capabilities by healthcare providers and data intermediaries,” as mentioned in the whitepaper. MOH is also studying provisions in the bill as it will also implement clear and stringent safeguards to ensure proper handling of health information. Another obstacle to digital apps is encouraging the elderly population to use them. The expansion of eldercare centres (ECs) may help and HealthierSG seeks to grow the ECs from 119 currently to 220 by 2025.

Healthier SG aims to shift the emphasis of the healthcare system from treatment to prevention (Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels)



Excellent government projects, initiatives lauded at GovMedia Awards 2023 Outstanding government projects and initiatives in Asia play a pivotal role in shaping the region’s development, progress, and global impact. As a vast and diverse continent, Asia’s governments have the opportunity to address a wide range of socio-economic, environmental, and infrastructural challenges through their initiatives. These projects serve as catalysts for transformative change and have significant implications for the well-being of billions of people living in Asia and beyond. By fostering innovation, investing in cuttingedge technologies, and promoting sustainable practices, exceptional government projects in Asia contribute to the region’s economic growth and competitiveness on the world stage. In recognition of government projects and initiatives, GovMedia

proudly introduced the winners for its awards programme this year through its digital awards presentation on 21 July 2023 via Zoom, as well as its in-person awards presentation on 24 July 2023 at Conrad Centennial Singapore. This year’s entries were evaluated by an elite panel of experts, including leaders from World Bank and ADB. For ADB Director Ramesh Subramaniam, companies have a higher likelihood of succeeding if they are focused on sustainability, willing to take risks and drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, World Bank’s Daniel Levine assessed nominees on whether they “made significant contributions to the government sector, showcase innovation and impact, and inspire others in their pursuit of excellence.”

GovMedia Awards 2023 congratulates the following winners:

Hong Kong Productivity Council • Regional Digital Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Accenture Pte Ltd • National Digital Initiative of the Year - Singapore

Hong Kong Productivity Council and The Civil Engineering and Development Department of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR • Regional Engineering Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Ansarada Pty Ltd • Regional Transport Infrastructure of the Year - Australia • National Energy Initiative of the Year - Indonesia

Intertec Systems • National Taxation Initiative of the Year - United Arab Emirates

Bureau of Corrections in Partnership with TADECO • Local Training Program of the Year - Philippines

Land Bank of the Philippines • National Campaign Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) • National Aquaculture Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Lenovo PCCW Solutions • Local Smart City Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Bureau of Immigration (BI) • National Digital Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) • National Science and Technology Initiative of the Year - Malaysia

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering • National Agriculture Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Mandaue City Public Information Office • Local Tourism Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Department of Health • National Health Initiative of the Year - Philippines Department of the Interior and Local Government • National Social Welfare Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Mastercard • Regional Tourism Initiative of the Year - Singapore MWM Terminals, Inc. • Regional Transportation Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Destileria Barako Corp. • Local Agriculture Initiative of the Year - Philippines

National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-GIA BRITER Program) • National Research Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Dubai Future Foundation • Local Science and Technology Initiative of the Year - United Arab Emirates

Philippine Sports Commission • National Sports Initiative of the Year - Philippines

Emirates Health Services • National Health Initiative of the Year - United Arab Emirates

Philippine Trade Training Center • National Training Program of the Year - Philippines

Forest Department Sarawak • Regional Forestry Initiative of the Year - Malaysia

PT Lemonilo Indonesia Sehat • National Health Initiative of the Year - Indonesia

Golden Topper • Local Social Welfare Initiative of the Year - Philippines

TechnologyOne • Local Digital Initiative of the Year - Australia

Hong Kong Correctional Services • Local Correctional Services Initiative of the Year - Hong Kong

Tourism Promotions Board Philippines • National Tourism Initiative of the Year - Philippines


Accenture Pte Ltd

Department of the Interior and Local Government

Philippine Trade Training Center

Lenovo PCCW Solutions

Dubai Future Foundation GOVMEDIA 27


Golden Topper

Hong Kong Correctional Services

Hong Kong Productivity Council and The Civil Engineering and Development Department of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR

Hong Kong Productivity Council

Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT)

Tourism Promotions Board




HUMAIRA SYIFA RIZAL AND SEPTIAN WALUYAN How governments will drive postpandemic supply chain resilience in SEA


he COVID-19 pandemic was a high-impact, low-probability, and disruptive event that had negative implications that no individual, industry, or government could have properly prepared for. The repercussions were felt almost immediately on an individual and collective scale. From jobs and income being lost to government-enforced lockdowns, the world seemingly stood still due to the adverse effects of the pandemic. In the world of business, particularly in supply chain and logistics, the pandemic affected every level of the global value chain, as increased shipping rates, prolonged transit time, and widespread product shortages became the norm. Lingering effects are still felt today, including the reduced trend of global trade volume and stagnating economic performance, which is more evident in developing countries. Contextualizing supply chain issues in southeast asia While these supply chain issues were prevalent globally, the impact was especially profound in Southeast Asia (SEA). Per a 2020 report by Nikkei Asia, several SEA countries and their economies experienced severe contractions at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, with Malaysia (-17.1%), the Philippines (-16.5%), Singapore (-13.2%), and Thailand (-12.2%) among the most negatively impacted. Moreover, supply chain challenges were further highlighted when analyzing specific industries like oil and gas. For instance, Indonesia was faced with reduced demand and decreased export value for oil, with its price nosediving and registering the lowest figures in nearly two decades. These issues created a ripple effect throughout the region, affecting private and public sector players. Governments and agencies closely related to the supply chain struggled, as they sorely lacked solutions to address an overwhelming demand from consumers. Due to these issues, SEA’s public and private sectors alike recognized the need to establish resilient and robust supply chains, which can help minimize potential challenges like those faced during the pandemic. This now begs the question: What role will SEA governments play in creating regional supply chain resilience? Understanding the public sector’s role in logistics The pandemic highlighted that further industry support is needed from governments, where initiatives like joint ventures and publicprivate partnerships play a critical role in aiding the supply chain and logistics market—be it for households, businesses, or other related organizations. While it may seem daunting, parties in the public sector should not overlook their role in the logistics and supply chain sector, as they have the reach and power to enact change on a national and international scale. Reviewing current regulations, identifying any existing gap or area of concern, and overhauling ineffective legacy


HUMAIRA SYIFA RIZAL Management Consultant YCP Solidiance Indonesia SEPTIAN WALUYAN Partner YCP Solidiance Indonesia

systems are some solutions that policymakers can enforce. To establish resilient supply chains, the private sector should look to create frameworks that can detect and properly respond to potential disruptions to the logistics industry. When crafting these initiatives, governments should be mindful of Southeast Asia’s diverse makeup as a region. The supply chain solutions deployed should be tailored to each nation’s characteristics, as factors like geographic location, cultural nuance, and socioeconomic disposition differ between countries. In the long-term, considering such dynamics will be beneficial as doing so will account for the nuanced logistical and supply chain demand of each country, inform collaboration between parties— including but not limited to inter-region, cross-country, and private-public cooperation—and improve the overall efficacy of the proposed supply chain solutions. What supply chain solutions can be enacted? Beyond engaging logistics players in the private sector and designing SEA-centric initiatives to drive growth within the industry, governments should also explore how to adapt proposed frameworks from other countries outside of the region. Drawing from data from the IBM Institute for Business Value, four key recommendations encompassing governments, businesses, academe, and the non-profit sector can be made: Building a government-led shared service centre of excellence where data on disruption effects, mitigative actions, and access to skilled experts are available. Mapping the highest vulnerabilities along the value chain and identifying solutions and relationships to help solve those vulnerabilities and bottlenecks. Applying design thinking to enhance the existing supply chain, highlighting the transparency and democratization of data, enabling decision stakeholders to pivot from a reactive to a predictive state of decision-making. Developing predictive models, mitigation strategies, and collaboration with private sectors to turn the shared service centres into a sustain mode, developing sharper scenarios and contingency plans. These recommendations are in line with current industry trends where smart technology solutions like advanced data analytics and predictive analysis are being applied. The public sector’s potential use of smart technology in supply chain and logistics will be beneficial, especially as industries and societies alike continue to emphasize digital transformation. Doing so also strengthens SEA’s position globally, as integrating smart technology into the regional logistics market and other industries will act as a competitive advantage.



ALEKSANDRA SVIDLER Rising energy pressures: Navigating energy vulnerability in Asia Pacific


hilst the immediate turmoil has receded, global energy pressures are expected to persist due to the global rise in energy demand, geopolitical and economic risks, limited natural resources, investment gaps in traditional energy projects and infrastructure, as well as the inequitable distribution of green investments. Adding to these challenges, the increasing adoption of environmental regulations demands an accelerated shift away from fossil fuels. This compounds the existing pressures and underscores the urgency of achieving a just and sustainable global energy transition. Historically known for their robust economic growth, many Asian economies are grappling with a complex combination of energy vulnerabilities and aspirations for a sustainable energy future amidst a rapidly evolving global energy landscape. This article delves into the energy vulnerability of select Asian countries, offering insights into the challenges they face and the opportunities they can seize to enhance their energy security. According to the Euromonitor International’s Global Energy Vulnerability Index, Indonesia has demonstrated the highest level of energy resilience among Asia Pacific economies. The country enjoys high energy self-sufficiency from the abundant supply of fossil fuels, as well as geothermal energy and biofuels, which play an important role in Indonesia’s energy mix diversification. However, as Indonesia’s energy demand is projected to grow in tandem with its rapidly expanding population and economy, the country will likely be compelled to harness its renewable potential to ensure an affordable and sustainable energy future. Ample domestic reserves also support the self-sufficiency of several economies in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. However, weak energy diversification and low levels of energy efficiency undermine these nations’ longterm resilience and economic stability. Whilst China demonstrated good overall results, ranking among the top third of index performers, the country continues to grapple with significant energy security challenges. For instance, a large proportion of energy-intensive industries, coupled with rapid urbanisation, subdue China’s efforts to improve energy efficiency. Moreover, the country showed moderate results in terms of energy diversification. Whilst China has been actively investing in renewable energy adoption, it is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, with coal accounting for more than half of its energy supply. Given the scale of the country’s energy needs, bridging the gap between the supply of renewable energy and the rising energy demand is an ongoing challenge and effort in China. Despite their good scores in energy efficiency and economic stability, Singapore and Hong Kong appear at the opposite end of the index, as small and resource-constrained city states rely heavily on energy imports and face limited renewable energy potential. Nevertheless, maximising the deployment of available renewable sources, such as solar, and diversifying the pool of external energy suppliers can help enhance energy security, whilst promoting energy-efficient solutions, energy conservation and modernisation


ALEKSANDRA SVIDLER Consultant for Economies Euromonitor International

of power grids can help in managing and reducing energy demand. Meanwhile, many developing Asian economies continue to grapple with infrastructure constraints, limited access to capital and high reliance on fossil fuels. Although the region attracts the lion’s share of global green investment, there is a high disparity, with most investments concentrated in China and advanced countries. As a result, inadequate investment in innovation, coupled with surging demand for energy, poses significant challenges for developing Asian economies in reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and building up resilience to energy market shocks. There are, however, some bright spots in the region. For example, India has ramped up its efforts in clean energy deployment and enjoyed robust investment in solar energy. Policy initiatives, such as Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, have helped to promote local production of high-efficiency solar photovoltaic modules. As a result, the total installed solar capacity in India has more than tripled over the past five years, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The dynamic region’s landscape also offers large untapped potential for corporate investment in innovative energy solutions in the long run. However, to facilitate an equitable energy transition, international cooperation is key in directing more funds to developing regions. Moreover, developing effective legislative and regulatory frameworks, fostering a supportive environment, promoting public and private cooperation, and developing of adequate energy infrastructure can help pave the way for a more sustainable and secure energy future in the region.

Maximising deployment of available renewable sources and diversifying pool of external suppliers can enhance energy security. (Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels)

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