The predecessor of the Economic Development Board was the Singapore Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB), which was set up in 1957. The SIPB was tasked with the promotion, assistance, financing and management of economic and commercial undertakings that were deemed as beneficial to the economy of Singapore. However, the SIPB’s capital resources and the organisation of the board were “too small to make any impact on the problems of industrialisation”. Its activities were limited “to making small loans to a handful of very small industrial operators.”
Then Minister for Finance Goh Keng Swee put forth the Economic Development Board Bill for its first reading in the Legislative Assembly on 26 April 1961. On 24 May the following month, Goh presented and defended the bill in its second reading before the Legislative Assembly, and made reference to the People’s Action Party (PAP)’s 1959 economic policy in which there was mention of the establishment of an Economic Development Board (EDB) to plan, co-ordinate and direct the industrialisation of Singapore. In accordance with a clause stated in the policy of having the economic board managed by specialists, the EDB board at the time of its formation comprised a chairman, an ex-officio member and five other members representing banking, manufacturing, commercial, labour, and professional and academic interests.
Since the proposed EDB would inherit all the powers, liabilities and obligations of the SIPB, with much larger capital resources and organisation, Goh proposed during the second reading of the bill to repeal the Singapore Industrial Promotion Board Ordinance 1957, and to transfer the assets of the board to the new EDB. The bill was assented to on 31 May 1961 and the Economic Development Board Ordinance 1961 came into force on 1 August that same year. The SIPB was officially repealed and all its assets, liabilities and obligations were transferred to and vested in the EDB. Hon Sui Sen, who was then the permanent secretary (Economic Development) at the Ministry of Finance, was appointed as the first chairman of the board. The EDB was given a capital of S$100 million over a four-year period from 1961 to 1964 for its industrial development plan.
1. Colony of Singapore. Government Gazette. Ordinances Supplement. (1957, January 18). Singapore Industrial Promotion Board Ordinance 1957 (Ord. 4 of 1957, pp. 1–6). Singapore: [s.n.]. RCLOS 348.5957 SGGOS-[HWE].
2. New board will have $100 m. for lending. (1961, April 4). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. Debates: Official Report. (1961, April 26). First Reading of the Economic Development Board Bill (Vol. 14, col. 1427). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 328.5957 SIN.
4. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. Debates: Official Report. (1961, May 24). Second Reading of the Economic Development Board Bill (Vol. 14, cols. 1516–1531). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 328.5957 SIN; Men named to push S’pore industry bid. (1961, August 17). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Debates: Official Report, 24 May 1961, Second Reading, Vol. 14, col. 1520.
6. Singapore. Legislative Assembly. Debates: Official Report. (1961, June 14). Messages from the Yang Di-Pertuan Negara (Assents to Bills passed) (Vol. 14, cols. 1629–1630). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 328.5957 SIN.
7. State of Singapore. Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement. (1961. July 28). Economic Development Board Ordinance 1961 (Sp.S 184/1961, p. 797). Singapore: [s. n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 348.5957 SGGSLS.
8. Singapore. 1961 Supplement to the Laws of the State of Singapore. (1961). Economic Development Board Ordinance 1961 (Ord. 21 of 1961, p. 158). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 348.5957 SIN-[HWE].
9. The Straits Times, 17 Aug 1961, p. 1.
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.