MAS urges public-private cooperation on digital infrastructure

Out-Law News | 30 Apr 2021 | 7:45 am | 1 min. read

The public and private sectors in Singapore should create common digital infrastructures to help create an inclusive digital economy, according to the head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said that interoperability was crucial to inclusiveness as he launched a report at a Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) event.

The report said that governments around the world should build a connected infrastructure to spread the benefits of their digital economy in their own countries and across borders.

It called for the creation of 'foundational digital infrastructures', systems which allow different users and different digital devices to seamlessly interact with one another. Interactive solutions and seamless digital services could be enabled under the foundational digital infrastructure to reach more people and businesses at a lower cost.

A foundational digital infrastructure would be global public digital infrastructure that explores how to make digital identity, payments and data sharing accessible, interconnected and available across borders.

The report was prepared in collaboration with the central banks of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Ghana, and Kenya, and payments company Mastercard, according to an MAS statement.

The report lists four pillars of a foundational digital infrastructure: digital identity, authorisation and consent, payments interoperability, and data exchange. It said that these are essential to enable end to end digital transactions.

MAS will focus next on building a consortium of countries keen to explore the potential of cross-border use of digital infrastructure.

Mark Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “Singapore has always strived to be at the forefront of digital innovation and as recent as December last year, launched the World’s first Public Digital Infrastructure called Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex) which enables individuals to access, through applications, their financial information held across different government agencies and financial institutions in Singapore.”

“With this drive for the creation of common digital infrastructure between the public and private sectors, as well as the connected push for digital identity, payments and data sharing to be made accessible, interconnected and available cross-border, Singapore continues to strive to accelerate its progress on digitalisation, which will be instrumental in Singapore’s bid to ensure that it stays relevant and remains a pioneer in this regard,” he said.