Singapore — Member of Parliament Gerald Giam (Workers Party-Aljunied GRC) addresses the issue of the wastage of fitness trackers in a recent Facebook post.
The Report of The Auditor-General for FY 2020/2021 was presented to the President earlier this year on Jul 2 and was later tabled in Parliament on Jul 21.
One concern covered in the report was the wastage of fitness trackers.
The report found that there were weaknesses in controls and lapses in the management of operations at several public sector entities. These included the National Heritage Board, the Health Promotion Board (HPB), and the Public Service Division.
The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) realized that there was a surplus of National Steps Challenge fitness trackers that were not being put to use and were subsequently wasted. There were around 341,000 trackers, adding up to a value of approximately $5.39 million.
AGO also noted that HPB did not take the appropriate action to make sure that the movement of fitness trackers was under proper surveillance and that the number of trackers was properly tallied.
It found that there were no processes for the central monitoring of the movement and the number of trackers, the records maintained were not complete, and there were no processes in place to ensure that the number of trackers did indeed match up to the records.
On 3 Aug 2021, Mr Giam asked Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung if it was possible that HPB could consider giving away functional trackers to members of the public, thereby promoting fitness and exercise in Singapore, instead of throwing them away.
According to Mr Giam’s post, the Minister confirmed that there was a leftover of around 341,000 trackers. However, only about a third (35%) of the trackers are still functional and will be put to use, such as for replacing trackers that have spoilt or supporting organizations that are aiming to improve the health and welfare of its employees.
Unfortunately, the other 221,000 trackers have been thrown away since they were no longer functional or have gone past the average useful lifespan.
Mr Ong said that in the future, HPB will be more stringent in the number of trackers to be obtained and distributed. He added that MOH will also closely monitor the implementation of new remedial measures, and will collaborate with HPB to establish accountability and less wasteful use of resources.
The full parliamentary question and answer segment can be found on Mr Giam’s website. Those who wish to view the Report of The Auditor-General for FY 2020/2021 can also visit the Auditor-General’s Office Singapore website.
You Zi Xuan is an intern at The Independent SG. /TISG
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